Their annual holiday blanket drive is a family tradition now, but the idea was inspired by parents Sayeh and Tony’s childhood. Both grew up in families where caring for others was a strong value, one they knew they wanted to pass on to their children.
When their daughter Mya was born, they decided to start a tradition of collecting and distributing blankets as their family’s way of caring for those in need during the winter holiday season.
11th Annual Blanket Drive
2022 marks the 11th year of this family’s tradition. The annual project, which rolls into action just before Thanksgiving, “has expanded more and more each year,” says Sayeh.
Part of that growth comes from the family’s efforts to make giving simple. They are happy to pick up blankets from donors or collect money and shop for the blankets themselves. They have even created an Amazon wish list so donors can simply click and send, a very popular option!
People want to help but need a way
“What we’ve found is so many people around us want to help but may not know where to donate or have the time to purchase and drop off a donation,’’ says Sayeh. “We try to make it as easy as possible.”
What started in 2012 with a donation of 20 blankets reached nearly 100 blankets last year — along with winter socks, underwear and other needed items.
A gift that grows with the a family
And, just as the annual collection has grown, so have 10-year-old Maya’s and 7-year-old Jordan’s voices in important drive decisions. The kids get to help decide where the blankets are delivered. Mya was the one who initiated giving blankets to Seattle Children’s hospital.
“We were visiting Seattle Children’s for an appointment and learned the hospital was in need of new blankets to give to kids and their parents who had to stay at the hospital.
“The patients got to take the blankets home with them as comfort items after their stays, which Mya thought was super cool,” says Sayeh. “We ended up donating to Seattle Children’s for several years after that.” She adds that the family has also led drives specific to a child’s interests; for example, they collected new basketballs for kids and families in need.
As fall begins, excitement builds
As each November approaches, Mya and Jordan “get more excited,” Sayeh says. “They tell all their friends, teachers and coaches to help spread the word.”
Mya and Jordan write a traditional, personal, handwritten thank-you note to every donor. Says Sayeh, “Having the kids acknowledge each donor is a super important part of our drive each year, teaching them to show gratitude for what others have done.”
Want to share a blanket with a person or organization in need? Consider making one using the Doing Good Together No-Sew Fleece Blanket guide.