Blanketing Kids With Kindness

In Humboldt County, California, the homeless population has experienced a disheartening few decades of dwindling public services and shuttered housing complexes — and with a steady stream of legislative petitions from groups across the state who want that displaced population out of urban areas, finding basic kindness has become more difficult than ever before.

In the seaside city of Eureka, student Grace Bugnacki was ready to tackle the problem head-on. With an idea in mind, Grace wrote to Random Acts back in July seeking funding for a particularly creative project she had devised to comfort the homeless children who were being shuffled from shelter to shelter.

“[This area] is very depressed economically, and as a result, there are a lot of homeless families, many of whom [are regularly forced] to move through the transitional housing units,” she explained. “My plan [was] to make and donate fleece-tie blankets for children transitioning into more permanent housing.”

Why blankets? The hand-tied items would likely give kids a feeling of home, even if they weren’t necessarily sleeping under their own roof, Grace explained.

“There is something incredibly comforting about a handmade item that a child can take with them in times of stress,” she said.

After reviewing her unique idea, Random Acts gladly approved Grace’s project and parceled out the funding so that the high school student could get to work.

Using fleece purchased from the local fabric store, Grace and her fellow church members from the Eureka 2nd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began tying the snipped edges one by one, eventually crafting 94 blankets in total, which were then donated to the nearby Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA), a private nonprofit which provides low to moderate income families and individuals with a variety of services.

“I wanted this project to show people … that service doesn’t always have to be labor intensive work,” said Grace afterward, encouraging her fellow community members to follow her lead. Luckily, many of them did just that, donating an additional 16 blankets to the RCAA after the fact.

“The RCAA was so grateful for the blankets,” Grace added in her final act report. “They’ll be given to children who come into their housing programs over the course of the next two years [and] will serve many as seven houses purchased for family placement services this year.”

Even with the cooler months still a few weeks away, it’s a safe bet that the gifts from Grace and the Eureka 2nd Ward will provide the children of Humboldt County with much more than just a warm blanket with which to cuddle up at night.