by Kelli Green
2022 was a wonderful return to our regular quilting bee schedule. Volunteers met with their sewing groups and our recipient agencies began to recover from years of shutdown. With our happily resumed events and increased blanket production, we made it to our 150,000th blanket delivery on December 6th. AZB4K distribution volunteer Nina Williams, delivered the blanket to Banner Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa. This was just one year after AZ Blankets 4 Kids turned 20, and only six years since we delivered our 100,000th blanket (in 2016) and 13 years since we delivered our 50,000th blanket (in 2009).
The numbers alone are mind boggling and I can’t help but get caught up in them, until I turn my thoughts to names instead. My mind and heart are suddenly flooded with memories of the volunteers and friends who collectively worked to make those 150,000 blankets over the last 21 years. There’s Phyllis and Ellie and Nancy and Jean and Norma and Dorothy and Jan and Barbara and Gloria. Ok, I obviously can’t name them all because there are hundreds in my head alone, and thousands who have contributed to this milestone. But imagine all the love they (you) have poured into every stitch and the comfort and support you gave to every one of the 150,000 recipients when they needed it most. And finally, imagine that comfort multiplied to millions for every time they wrapped up in their blankets and calmed; found peace; felt loved. That’s amazing! You did that! And you continue to give of your time and talents and love. And we are so grateful.
It’s truly a privilege to be part of this beautiful thing called AZ Blankets 4 Kids. The people, the friendships, the need to cut up perfectly good chunks of fabric and sew them back together again; it’s all pretty wonderful and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings. That number (150,000) is a fantastic thing, but even more important, in my humble opinion, is all the other ripples of loveliness woven through what we do: the fellowship with old friends and new, the exercise for our minds and our bodies, the creativity and the dopamine rush from the process of making. As you continue your incredible service to this organization, I would ask that you take a moment to reflect on the connections you’ve made and the joy you bring into your own life while you create something that will bring joy to the lives of our kids.
Thank you times infinity plus one.