I received an email in February. It was just a one sentence inquiry.
Are you still collecting the blankets for the nursing home residents? I sent a reply back that might have seemed a little brief, too. Yes, I am but the nursing homes are very particular about what we bring in so they have to be new or very gently used.
The reason why I was a little terse is that the last few batches of donated blankets were not up to the standard that I needed for the project.
About a month later, Alfreda called and told me that she lived in a senior living community in Doylestown. She had been crocheting blankets since she read the article in the newspaper about my project. She wanted to donate them to the people that I visit in nursing homes. She had recently been to the hospital and saw a man sitting in a wheelchair. She thought of her big pile of finished afghans in her home and wished that she had one to give him – for comfort, for warmth and to just surprise him with a unexpected random act of kindness.
Alfreda moved here from Michigan where she had spent her career working in the automobile industry. After her husband passed away, she decided to move to Doylestown to be closer to her niece. And her new lifestyle gave her lots of time on her hands – and her loving and talented hands sure got busy. She made 32 blankets for me, all guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of the people I visit. Not just “everyday looking” blankets but colorful and soft with the most amazing patterns that you could ever imagine.
They were truly all works of art. I took the first eight blankets to a group of women who were recovering from hard times related to drug and alcohol issues. Wonderful women who needed a little extra kindness that day. And one to my daughter who moved into her first house on that day. (I asked Alfreda if that would be okay and she was delighted.)
And the rest went to grateful recipients at a nursing home in Bucks County. Oh, what a beautiful sight! I wish Alfreda could have been there with me to pass them out and see the joy that her blankets gave to the people who needed them so much – just for comfort! The stitches lovingly made by Alfreda did just what our hearts know – they gave people hope, reassurance and happiness. Her blankets touched people that she will never meet in person – but there is a connection. The residents looked in awe at the blankets on their laps. No two residents are alike and that is why the wide variety of styles and colors had something special for everyone.
I wished that the residents were able to convey their thank-you’s to Alfreda but with their limitations –wheelchairs, walkers, not putting weight on a foot or ankle, arthritis, depression, blindness, grueling physical-therapy exercise routine schedules; so that is rarely able to happen.
Alfreda knows all about doing good – I imagine she has been putting the needs of others above her own for many years. I admire her and am very grateful for all that she has done to put smiles on the faces of the residents at Crestview and for the young women striving to overcome their addictions.