On Turning 20

by Kelli Nemec

And now for some good news… AZ Blankets 4 Kids turns 20 this year!
After the disappointment of canceling our October Bee at Las Palmas Grand (LPG), we thought it would be a good time to celebrate all the wonderful accomplishments of our organization over the last 20 years. I’ve included many LPG milestones below, starting with a video filmed at one of their sewing days. 

In the 20 years since our inception in 2001, our amazing volunteers have made over 138,000 blankets for us to deliver to seriously ill and traumatized children throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. In fact, you might even call them Home Town Heroes, like local NBC news Channel 12 did when we were only 10 years young…

Now join me in a little walk down memory lane, if you will. I’m going to stroll through our newsletters and pop in some highlights below. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the old newsletters. There are so many wonderful memories of times spent with the best people I know… that’s all of you! I hope these highlights inspire you to browse the photos and articles too. To walk with me, you can hover over NEWS, at the top of our web page, then click NEWSLETTERS. This will link you to PDFs of our newsletters published between 2003 and 2018. After 2018, we switched to blog style news with articles posted individually and listed chronologically (most recent first) in the NEWS section.


  • AZ Blankets 4 Kids, Inc. forms to provide comfort blankets to seriously ill and traumatized children in the Phoenix metro area.
  • We coordinate blanket making events (Bees), and work with volunteer sewing groups to make cuddle sized quilts for babies to teenagers.
  • Our Distribution team delivers the blankets to agencies who serve children throughout the Valley. These agencies have a mission that aligns with ours and they are the ones who actually place the blankets in the hands of the children.


  • 11,604 total blankets made
  • Blanket Bee at Matta’s Restaurant


  • 17,006 total blankets made
  • Bees are scheduled at host locations, mostly throughout the East Valley, in special event spaces within active living communities. Winter visitors bring a big boost to our volunteer base.
  • LPG sets goal to make 300 blankets in the year and makes over 400


  • 22,977 total blankets made
  • Begin to see gorgeous raffle quilts as fund raisers for AZB4K
  • Volunteers attend annual quilt camps at Emmanuel Pines
  • LPG makes over 1,000 blankets
  • Support begins from Desert Club grants generated by their annual Christmas Idea House fundraiser


  • 29,925 total blankets made
  • St. Joseph’s Nursery Intensive Care Unit gives luncheon for volunteer stitchers
  • Nod to all needle-wielding volunteers who knit and crochet blankets for our kids


  • 36,649 total blankets made
  • Support begins from Gold Wing F Troop motorcycle group
  • Fleece Blankets 6 Ways – Sept 2007 Newsletter
  • Quilt camp gamblers show winner takes all (of the fabric) playing Left/Right/Center


  • 45,105 total blankets made
  • Barb’s bears turn scraps into quilted treasures – see Sept 2008 Newsletter where she’s so dedicated, she takes the bear from hubby Don’s back
  • See May 2008 Newsletter for Bran Flax Muffins recipe (La Hacienda Bee treat) and the Best Binding How-To instruction sheet
  • Also from the La Hacienda Bee, we see a beautiful art quilt presented by CAAFA (Community Alliance Against Family Abuse). The quilt is used as an awareness tool at events and is made from quilt blocks of art made by kids as part of expressive art therapy.
  • Friendship Quilts made for beloved volunteers battling cancer


  • 52,482 total blankets made
  • On March 12th, Mary D delivers 50,000th blanket (Phoenix Children’s Hospital is the lucky recipient agency)
  • Quilting retreats at Quilting On The Rim near Show Low
  • Eloise Babcock presents The 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 Quilt Pattern – see February 2009 Newsletter
  • Begin to see happy winners of big raffle prize baskets at Bees


  • 57,370 total blankets made
  • LPG makes 1,985 blankets
  • Wendy Esquibel and her kids visit a Bee to tell us about Jose’s Closet
  • Recipes for Chinese Chicken Salad and Pretzel Salad – see April 2010 Newsletter


  • 66,764 total blankets made
  • Support from Arizona Women’s Partnership with mini grants from their annual Wine, Women & Jazz fundraisers


  • 73,991 total blankets made
  • Support from the Troops! From Gold Wing F Troop to Chandler Girl Scout Troop #2594, we are blessed.
  • Sandy Howell earns SRP Dollars for Doers grants for her volunteer efforts


  • 78,958 total blankets made
  • Dallas Wood chooses AZ Blankets 4 Kids to benefit from Eagle Scout Project
  • LPG tops 2,000 blankets made in a year


  • 85,698 total blankets made
  • AZ Charitable Tax Credit helps boost $ donations


  • 92,804 total blankets made
  • Spotlight on recipient agency Helen’s Hope Chest in November 2015 Newsletter
  • Bee photos highlight happy winners of raffle baskets, 50/50 drawings, and raffle quilts


  • 100,073 total blankets made
  • LPG hosts our 100k Blanket Celebration with toe tapping tunes by Sonoran Swing Band


  • 104,428 total blankets made
  • Sandy Howell earns SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award for her work with AZ Blankets 4 Kids
  • Annual October Bee quilt delivery and show from Carol Pettis – see almost any October Bee news article for some of Carol’s beautiful contributions


  • 112,625 total blankets made
  • last AZB4K newsletter published and mailed in May 2018
  • read about new agency, Banner Hospice Children’s Bereavement Camp, in the May 2018 newsletter
  • find all newsletters from 2003 to 2018 on our website in PDF form, then continue to enjoy news as individual article posts online

From over 56,000 blankets made in our first ten years to over 138,000 at 20 years with no end in sight! Special thanks to our individual volunteers and those who contribute to these active groups:

Arizonian RV Resort
Boulder Ridge Sew N Sews
Canyon Vista Quilting Group
Caring Circle at Skyline R.V. Resort
Encore Quilt Club at EASTMARK
Fabric Fillies
Fountain of the Sun Quilters
Golden Sun RV Park
Golden Vista Sewing Club – AJ
Good Life RV Park – Piecemakers Quilting Group
Greenfield Village Sew and Sews
Holiday Village RV Park
Hugs and Stitches, Inc.
La Hacienda RV Resort Quilters – AJ
Las Palmas Grand
Mesa Regal Creative Quilters
Mesa Spirit  RV Resort – Village Quilters
Monte Vista Quilters
Montessa Needlers @ Gold Canyon
Needle Wielders – Tempe
Palmas del Sol – Scrap Happy Stitchers
Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren
Peace by Piece Quilters – Tempe
Queen Valley Sharing Circle
Sew Bee It Sewing Group – AJ
Sun Lakes Ladies
Sun Life Charity Quilters
Sun Valley Piecemakers: Blankets 4 Kids
Sunland Springs Village Quilt Club
Sunland Village Quilts for Kids – Mesa
Trilogy Quilters
Venture Out RV Park Quilt Group
Weavers Needle – AJ
34th Ward

You are all heroes in our eyes! Be well and keep stitching.











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.