Homemade warmth sent to help those in need

Imagine walking into a nursing home and seeing elderly women crocheting or knitting plaid sweaters and scarves for their grandchildren for Christmas stocking stuffers.

Now imagine a group of college students crocheting and knitting blankets in their residence halls while watching television and talking with friends.

Warm Up BG is a service organization that started three years ago Kreischer with a resident sitting in her room knitting and crocheting.

The service organization is made up of 50 students, in which 25 people regularly attend meetings at 7:30 p.m. every other Thursday.

The president, senior Ashley Albertson, said last year she taught herself how to crochet in her dorm and she learned how to knit in high school.

“When I attended Campus Fest and I saw the organization outside and one of the officers was crocheting and I said to her ‘I do that too,'” Albertson said. “And ever since then I joined the organization.”

Last semester the organization made 20 blankets that went to homeless shelters, battered women shelters and churches all over the area of Ohio.

Some of the blankets were donated last year to Cherry Street Mission in Toledo, Hope House in Findlay. Hospice and members of the group use their own cars to drive to the shelters to give the blankets.

“As an organization we are doing a service to the community because people are down and out of their luck sitting in the homeless shelters and living off of minimum wage,” she said. “And when they receive something that took time they really do care and they feel that they aren’t going through times alone.”

Being part of this organization, Albertson said, has really become an eye opener for her and has prepared her for the professional world when she goes to graduate school for social work.

“I remember I drove to Hope House this summer and I saw a mother with her son, who just turned one years old,” she said. “He crawled into the room where all the blankets were and went through each of them and picked out which one he wanted and he was so thrilled to have the blanket and his mom really appreciated it.”

In the beginning of the semester the members of Warm Up BG crochet and knit hats and scarves and sell the items in the Union in October to make money to buy supplies to make the blankets for the rest of the semester.

This year the organization raised an estimation of $500 and currently the members have made 12 blankets.

Warm Up BG is still a baby because it’s still young and anyone interested in joining can come, whether or not knitting or crocheting is one’s talent and the members will teach the new comers, Albertson said.

“I think for people out there that are creative and looking for an outlet that they are welcome to come and join us,” Albertson said. “Knitting and crocheting is my form of art and it allows students to escape from reading, studying, and math.”

Albertson said the organization doesn’t set a goal on how many blankets to make a year because knitting and crocheting is supposed to be relaxing and done during the members’ leisure time.

“By setting a goal it would add pressure to the members,” she said.

Albertson said knitting and crocheting is her stress reliever.

“I have a hard time relaxing because I tend to think what I should be doing when I am not doing anything and I just have nervous energy,” she said. “But when I am knitting or crocheting I am relaxed because I am doing something with my hands during my free time but at the same I feel that I am doing something productive.”

Vice president, Silvia Morales, sophomore, also has been part of Warm Up BG for over a year.

“I’m from Texas and we don’t crochet and knit back at home,” Morales said. “But when my friend was coming to pick me up for my birthday I saw her knitting a scarf and I wanted to learn how ever since.”

Morales said she enjoys helping out the community and the organization serves a good cause to shelters across Ohio.

Another student, Jacquella Gray, sophomore, said crocheting has become part of her life since her freshman year.

“I was part of Warm Up BG through the Chapman community last year and I really found it relaxing because it would help me forget about everything, especially if I had a bad day,” Gray said. “Also when I crochet I still feel like I am having a productive day.”

Last year the Chapman community at Kohl hall was part of Warm Up BG and each student had to crochet a square or two each week and at the end of the semester the organization put together all the crocheted and knitted squares as a blanket to donate to shelters.