Hearing the heartwarming stories about children’s reactions to receiving one of her crew’s one-of-a-kind blankets is all it takes to keep Linda Fabrizio charging ahead with her “Blankets of Love” community outreach initiative.
Fabrizio, owner of Domestic Sewing Center in Warren, started Blankets of Love in 2008 among a group of her store’s regular customers.
They’ve donated more than 8,600 blankets to area hospitals and ministries for seriously ill or traumatized children. They even donate a regular supply of approximately 100 per month to Akron Children’s Beeghly campus.
“Our motivation is simple, it’s to put a smile on a child’s face and comfort them when they’re in the hospital,” Fabrizio said. “Many of these children have never had a homemade blanket especially made for them, and it’s a joy to be able to provide that.”
One boy was so thrilled he didn’t want to go home because he didn’t want to leave his blanket. He didn’t realize it was his to keep.
“This is what we do,” Fabrizio said. “A lot of ladies love to crochet, but they’re done crocheting for their family and want to keep up on their craft. Blankets of Love is their outlet where they get together with their friends, have lunch, socialize, be productive and give back to a wonderful cause, the children of our community.”
Blankets of Love come in fleece, crocheted and quilted varieties, and each one is different. Patterns, colors and sizes represent a variety of popular options for boys and girls of all ages. They’re distributed by nurses, and each one is personally selected with the specific child’s interests in mind.
The volunteer group meets twice a month at Domestic Sewing Center to work on the blankets, but Fabrizio also welcomes donated blankets made at individuals’ homes.
To keep the initiative going, Fabrizio relies on donations from the community.
“We’re 100 percent a volunteer group and provide these blankets to the children for free for them to keep,” Fabrizio said. “People bring in leftover or unused fabric and yarn, and some monetary donations, but what we typically don’t get enough of is batting. We use monetary donations to purchase batting, which is used on the inside of quilts, and we have an economical vendor that sells mission quilt batting specifically for organizations like ours. We gratefully appreciate any donations people are willing to give.”
Donations and completed blankets can be dropped off during store hours at Domestic Sewing Center at 2011 Youngstown Road in Warren.