By Jonathan Edwards
My Very Own Blanket is “dedicated to warming the heart of every child in the foster care system with a blanket which gives them a feeling of comfort, security, and most of all, a SMILE.” This year marks 20 years of giving back MVOB has a goal of 20,000 blankets. As of 08/27/2019 they are well on their way to reaching that goal with 12,742 blankets given this year. Each blanket is personalized with the child’s name, the tradition for “My Very Own Blanket” since inception.
MVOB started out with a vision from founder and “blanket lady” Jessica Rudolph. As Rudoph said, she was sitting in a rocking chair knitting a blanket with her children nearby while reflecting on the comfort the blanket brings. She “never had any experience with foster care before…but the question came to me ‘who should I give this blanket to?’ God then gave me a vision to give it to a child in foster care.” From this profound and heartwarming vision, Rudolph recruited more people to help with this endeavor. The result: more than 100,000 blankets have been given to children since 1999.
So the question is why blankets and what impact are they making on the foster care system? For starters, the foster care system is in crisis. Currently there are over 450,000 children in the system nationwide with 17,000 kids in Ohio, a number that is expected to reach 20,000 in the next year. Kinship Care has risen 42% in the last two years alone.
The good news: MVOB is ministering directly to the child. The special tag sewn onto every blanket, is where children can write their own name in permanent marker, “This belongs to…” and the contributor can write and sign a personal message to the recipient “Handmade by _____.” Foster families often say, “for those kids that come with a blanket, it makes the first night that much easier because the child has something to hold onto.”
Want to get involved but do not know how to sew, knit or crochet? No problem! “No-sew” fleece blankets are provided in kits for $10 (covering the cost of materials, special tag and financial support). You can create these blankets anywhere and takes only 40 minutes to make! MVOB encourages and invites all creative and inspired hands to join in: if you do know how to sew, knit, or crochet, by all means create a gift that you would enjoy to give and MVOB can assist with any final touches including adding the MVOB message. As Rudulph says, “We need more people to get involved and help take care of this issue that is so vital in a child’s life!”
Outside of blanket contributions how else can you get involved? Attend a 20th Anniversary celebration to learn more about MVOB’s mission in September or November, where you will get the opportunity to make a blanket. You can host a central Ohio Blanket Making Event, and become a Blanket Angel Coordinator (details on the website).
For more information on the needs and facts of foster care visit: pcsao.org/factbook