Roberts 4-Hers gather blankets, caps for soldiersThough spring is fast approaching, the Roberts Ribbon Reapers 4-H Club is already working to send blankets and helmet caps to soldiers this fall.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
Though spring is fast approaching, the Roberts Ribbon Reapers 4-H Club is already working to send blankets and helmet caps to soldiers this fall.
For about a decade the club has sent care packages and letters to soldiers overseas at the end of February. A few years ago the club started making caps and blankets for soldiers.
“It started with sending about three or four blankets at a time, with about 30 caps. Last year, we ended up sending about 10 blankets and 60 caps,” said Lani Sahnow, 4-H leader and mother of Army National Guard member Josh Sahnow.
She said the number of caps and blankets collected each year has grown and this year is no exception.
Just four months into the year-long project the Roberts Ribbon Reapers have already collected 41 blankets and 75 caps.
4-H Leader Patti Robertson said the local club invited other 4-H Clubs in St. Croix County to get involved with the project, which is a major reason the project has become so successful so soon.
Since announcing the project to the other 4-H clubs in the county, seven of the 20 clubs have signed on to help the Roberts Ribbon Reapers with the cause.
Other clubs involved are: Lone Pine, Baldwin Wide Awake, Double Good, Golden Fireballs, Pine Lakers, Glen Hills Climbers and the Dry Run Go-Getters.
Through word of mouth, many club members’ relatives, 4-H alumni and community members have signed up to help with the project, too, Sahnow said.
“It’s great that it’s gone beyond the (Roberts Ribbon Reapers) club,” she said. “It’s out there in the community.”
“It shows we can all work together to really achieve something big,” Robertson added.
If the number of donations continues as it has, the Roberts Ribbon Reapers should have no problem reaching their goal of collecting hundreds of blankets and caps by fall.
“I thought with November being Veteran’s Month, what better way to honor our soldiers and say thank you?” Sahnow said. “The goal is to try to get as many hats and blankets made before November, so we can distribute them in November and December 2012.”
She says soldiers stationed in the U.S. and overseas have a need for the caps during the cold winter months.
“With the Army, the helmets do not have any insulation or padding. It’s literally the bare metal against their shaved heads,” Sahnow said.
While soldiers do have the option to purchase fleece caps for their helmet, Sahnow says the homemade caps remind soldiers that people back home are thinking of them.
Robertson said the club plans to send the blankets and caps to Roberts resident Mike Gunderson’s attention, as he is currently serving overseas.
“He (Gunderson) is in a large group right now in Iraq and he was telling his wife that there are several men in his group that get nothing at all,” Robertson said.
Gunderson agreed to distribute the gifts to soldiers who could use a homemade gift.
Robertson said the club welcomes suggestions of any soldiers who could use a cap or blanket.
“If anyone knows a soldier that would like a package, pass their name and address along to us and we will try our best to get them a blanket and a cap,” Robertson said.
Robertson and Sahnow say though the club is very appreciative of the help they’ve already received from the community and other clubs, more help is needed.
The club is looking for people to donate hats, blankets, their time, materials or money toward the project.
There are yarn type, color and size restrictions for the caps.
While the 1.5- to 2-yard fleece blankets have no color restrictions, for discretion purposes, the caps must be dark neutral colors and be small enough so that they come to the top of the ears and above the bottom of the helmet.
Robertson and Sahnow have directions for how to make properly-sized caps and blankets.
Sahnow estimates each helmet cap costs around $1 to make, plus the time to knit or crochet.
Robertson said all donations are appreciated.
“Even if it’s a donation of one hat a month, it is one hat we didn’t have before,” said Sahnow.
To get involved with the blankets and cap project, call Sahnow at 715-928-1055 or email robertsri firstname.lastname@example.org.