WICHITA, Kan. When you have a big idea, it can take a lot of work to see it come to fruition.
A story we did on August 14th, and its subsequent Facebook post, got a lot of attention. The story was about the Forensic Nursing Unit at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph and its need for fleece blankets to give to victims of assault, abuse, and human trafficking.
So I went to work to see if there was something we at KWCH could do to get the nurses the blankets they needed. With a $1,200 Helping Hand donation from DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers, and a generous donation from JOANN Fabrics we were able to get 120 fleece blanket kits.
"We love what you guys are doing and we felt it was a great opportunity to get involved with the community and help KWCH as well," said Mike Misener, JOANN Fabrics and Crafts District Manager.
Richard James went with us to Jo-Ann's to buy the kits, that were stacked by the checkout counter in several large brown boxes. There were so many we had to get help to get them out of the store, across the parking lot and loaded into a minivan. It was a snug fit.
Now that we had the kits, we needed the hands and bodies to tie them.
I went back to the original Facebook post and messaged everyone asking them to come to the station to tie blankets. The response I got was overwhelming.
We had close to 100 people show up to the KWCH studio, working shoulder to shoulder, cutting and tying the blankets.
"We're just trying to do our small part to help people," said Darrin Capps, a volunteer who came to tie blankets.
The cutting and tying was amazingly efficient.
"This is an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. It's just fun to be with all these ladies and just be doing something that I know is going to make somebody feel better," said Hazel Ellis, who volunteered to help cut the blankets.
Whether they were standing, sitting in a chair or on the floor, the kind-hearted volunteers found whatever space they could to create the blankets.
"Just happy that I can help," said Genia Ternes who volunteered with experience making 500 blankets herself.
Dustin DeVaughn and Richard James even came to motivate.
"This is going to make a huge difference in a lot of people's lives," said DeVaughn. "Thank you so much for your time."
"We know you guys have a lot of places to be, and so being here means a lot to us," said James.
We had so many people, we were able to average a blanket every 90 seconds. In total, it took three hours for us to finish all them.
With the blankets wrapped and ready, we put them back in the boxes and ready to be delivered.
We worked with Ascension Via Christi to get all the Forensic Nurses together so we could surprise them. It took us a few loads, but we got them all inside.
"We appreciate the compassion and the kindness that you show them," said James. "That means a lot to us."
"Thank you. Thank you so much," said Tina Peck, one of the Forensic Nurses. "We couldn't do this without you."
The nurses now have enough blankets to hopefully last them a year.
If you want to get involved, the Blanket Makers is an organization that makes these blankets and will look to donate to the nurses in the future. You can email them at email@example.com