Welcome to Blankets for Canada Society web site.
As I look back over the eleven years that Blankets for Canada has been a registered Society, I am humbled at the large number of people who are so generously helping others.
We started in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1998, where 200 blankets were made and distributed in that first year. Blankets for Canada has spread across the country in the last ten years, right from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, and last year, 2009, more than 8,000 blankets were made and distributed.
To give the reader an idea of just how many blankets that would be, eight thousand blankets would be made of approximately 384,000 eight-inch squares. Laid end to end, those squares would stretch at least 768 kilometres!
Every year the demand for our blankets increases, particularly with the unstable economy. So many people are stepping up and fulfilling the needs of Canadians who need some warmth.
Our volunteers come from most age groups, and many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The oldest volunteer who I had the privilege of meeting was 102 years old! She was a very happy person who was very proud of the good work she was doing for people she would never know.
We have many volunteers who are retirees living in condos or lodges, who enjoy an afternoon of "Stitch and Chat" as they make squares for blankets. Children in schools are also making squares, not only learning valuable life skills, but also learning to care for their fellow Canadians who are in need.
We have had children have a birthday party and ask for no gifts except for yarn to donate to Blankets. There are volunteers with physical or mental handicaps come to "Stitch 'n Chats" and learn to knit, crochet or use the Knifty Knitters. Many of those individuals have gained enough confidence in themselves that they have become employed and are living much more independent lives.
In the past 11 years, Blankets for Canada has gone from its humble beginnings in Lethbridge to being a coast-to-coast organization, serving larger areas such as Nanaimo and Victoria on Vancouver Island, and Abbotsford in BC, to Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta; Kingston, Milton, St. Catherines/Niagara and the greater Toronto area in Ontario, and Halifax, NS, as well as smaller groups in other parts of Canada.
Blankets for Canada has two main rules that must be followed:
1. We don't make mistakes - We make originals!
2. A square measures 8 inches, no matter what the tape measure says!
This pretty much tells you who we are and what we do.
Even though we help those who live on the streets and in shelters, I sometimes think we help those who make the blankets even more. We have been told many times, and all over Canada, as we went into Seniors' Lodges that "I have a reason to live as some one still needs me". These were people who sat, did very little and were not able to even move, have found a purpose and are participating in life again.
It is not just women who volunteer for Blankets for Canada. Men are valuable volunteers, too, and serve several roles, including chapter leader, knitters, pick-up and delivery of squares, and of course, our Founder, Stu Panting. Just as much as the women bring joy to Blankets for Canada, so do the men.
This year will see changes in Blankets for Canada. Although we have an extraordinary number of volunteers, we don't have enough paid members to sustain the number of people who serve on the Board of Directors. Two former board members will now be serving as Advisors to the Board.
Because of the economic instabilities, many United Way pledges have vanished, as donors have lost jobs and are unable to make financial contributions.
Blankets for Canada is a completely volunteer organization with no paid staff. Blankets for Canada is a registered Canadian charity, and provide a tax-deductible receipt to anyone who makes a contribution, whether it be cash, yarn, fabric, or other supplies.
Blankets for Canada is non-demoninational and not political. We receive no government funding, and fully depend on our supporters to help the organization do its vital work.
Blankets for Canada volunteers are extremely generous. I understand that we are one of the largest not-for-profit organizations in Canada. All our supplies are donated free of charge, and everything we make is given free of charge to the recipients. Our communities support us with yarn, fabric, quilt batting, and even cash to help pay some of the expenses that are typically associated with an organization such as ours.
I, as founder, and the Board of Directors, thank each and every one of you for everything you do for Blankets for Canada.
As you peruse our Donation Page, you will learn more about us and what some of us do. Please understand that, as a totally volunteer organization, we may not have some of the information updated as quickly as it should be, but be assured that it will be done as soon as possible.
Thank you for the important part that you play in "keeping those without shelter and in need of warmth" warm, and giving them a feeling of someone caring and being loved.
Nancy J Panting - Founder/ President
Blankets for Canada - Est 1998