CFS students tie blankets for WMC pediatric patients
Kindergarten through eighth grade CFS (Calmar, Festina, Spillville) Catholic School students tied hundreds and hundreds of knots during the recent Catholic Schools Week celebration. That was because the students were making tied fleece blankets to comfort pediatric patients who receive care Winneshiek Medical Center.
The project began when CFS Second Grade Teacher Luann Ward called WMC looking for service project ideas appropriate for multiple ages and abilities. Deb Tekippe, supervisor of Same Day Services at WMC, had need for small blankets for pediatric patients. The blankets are given to comfort children who may not be feeling well or need some extra reassurance while in the hospital. She said, “From time-to-time, community members make blankets for the children who need a surgical procedure or IV medication at WMC. For each child to receive a blanket, we need about 200 per year, which is quite a lot for someone to make.” Deb offered the project idea to Luann, but both women had concerns about the cost of fabric with the school’s limited budget for the project.
“We approached the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation to ask if financial gifts already received from community members could be used to purchase the fabric,” said Deb. Recognizing the important role comfort and compassion play in healing, the WMC Foundation quickly agreed to the request. Their support was the catalyst that moved the project forward, and CFS school committed to making 70 blankets.
Holly Kanengieter, coordinator for the WMC Foundation said, “The mission of the Foundation is to financially support the caring work at WMC. There are other ways to involve the community in that mission than just giving financial gifts Our relationship with CFS is a wonderful example of donors and volunteers coming together to provide and give healing gifts to our patients.”
To prepare, Deb and her WMC colleagues Sue Busta and Marianne Stalberger cut 140 pieces of fleece to the correct size, and the CFS project committee cut fringes around each square. “We all got blisters from so many cuts!” said Luann. Then, on a day during Catholic Schools Week, children gathered in the CFS Spillville center for an afternoon of tying.
Deb joined them to experience the fun. She said, “Older students partnered with younger students all across the school to tie blankets. It was amazing to see so many smiling faces and busy hands working on this project together.” In short order, all 70 blankets were complete.
“We are thankful to each and every student, the teachers and staff who support them, and the WMC Foundation,” said Deb. “The blankets are wonderful, and will be deeply appreciated by children and their families. CFS students did a great service and provided a ‘cuddly’ gift for their young friends in the community.”