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St. Anne's provides comfort in form of blankets

When Karla Leach was looking for a community service project for her third grade class at St. Anne's School, she had numerous options.

She settled on Women's Advocates in St. Paul.

"I contacted them and they said they could use blankets," Leach said. "My students really wanted to help other kids."

Women's Advocates is a safe place for women and children seeking escape from domestic violence. Many times the families leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

"I asked my students, 'Can you imagine not even having a blanket?' That really got them fired up," Leach said.

Leach estimated it took about $15 to make a two-sided fleece blanket. She asked her class to either bring in the money or their own fleece to use.

The 19 third-graders divided into groups of three to four to cut the sides of the blanket and tie the fleece fringes together. Leach said that they can make up to six blankets in one hour.

The class is planning on making 19 blankets throughout the year. They had already made six back in November, and with the five they made Jan. 24, they only have a few more sessions to go.

"They were fun and easy to make," Dylan Anez, one of the students said .

"I really like having something that they can work on throughout the year," Leach said.

A representative at Women's Advocates said that the blankets are very much appreciated and a "great source of comfort to the children once they get to the shelter."

They also stress that their needs are constantly changing, so anyone interested in helping is welcome to check out their Web site at or call 651-227-9966.

The students involved in making the blankets were just as eager to make them, as the recipients were to get them.

"It makes me happy to do something nice for people less fortunate," Shelly Schmitt, student helper said.

"I liked helping each other make people happier," Kaleigh Wink, student helper said.