Give a Kid a Blanket
In June 2018 Lowndes Community Contribution team collected donations of blankets, duvets and other winter warmers for Give a Kid a Blanket. When delivering the donated items, we had the privilege of meeting Donna Turtle Sarten & Bernie Harfleet. This amazing couple have run the Give a Kid a Blanket campaign since 2015 as part of their social-political art practice. They work for 14 hours a day from 1 June through to 22 July receiving and distributing blankets. Obviously there are many hours either side of this window for preparation and pack down. They started setting up on 1 April and hope to finish by 10 August. Last year they gave out 8416 blankets and this count doesn’t include the pyjamas, new pillows, new hot water bottles and other winter warmers that are also donated.
The two of them with family and a handful of volunteers receive countless donations which they tirelessly sort and then package up into personalised bundles for households which have been identified by social workers, public health nurses and family support workers in the community, as having a need. They work to provide warmth to these families, and love by ensuring that each person in that household is supplied with bedding which is age appropriate and fits in the family’s sleeping arrangements. Extra bedding goes to the homeless shelters and the un-useable goes to the animal shelters.
There are a lot of people doing a lot of good things out there. This year the racking to hold the donations and the delivery van have been loaned, and a couple of laundromats have offered to launder any quality but soiled bedding. They have 75 volunteered drop off points which is an increase from 56 in 2016. Not to mention the constant drop offs of beautiful new and second hand bedding which stream in from the community.
They also really appreciated the contributions from various people in Lowndes to their Give-a-Little fund as this year they have had the additional expense of rent for the space they are in, and Bernie drives about 700km every week with deliveries and pickups which is a significant petrol cost.
It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours working alongside them and very humbling.
Thank you for all your contributions that were dropped into Lowndes reception. Please follow Give a Kid a Blanket on Facebook for more of their story.
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