June 14th, 2024

Children sharing warmth with Blankets of Hope

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Children of St. Martha's school kindergarten teacher Laurie McIntosh helps her students write letters of hope on Tuesday to be shared with those in need who receive Blankets of Hope.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Children of St. Martha School students are once again “Blankets of Hope” ambassadors, now for the 4th year in a row.
Blankets of Hope was initiated by two brothers from Brooklyn, New York.
Mike and Nick Fiorito reached out to Kindergarten teacher Laurie McIntosh four years ago over Instagram to ask if her school would be interested in participating.
“I’m not sure if any others are taking part, we were the first Canadian school to take part four years ago and it’s kind of spread to a couple of other classrooms but I don’t think there’s anybody else in Lethbridge,” said McIntosh.
McIntosh said Blankets of Hope is set up for schools to fund raise for the blankets, or put out a GoFundMe to raise the money for blankets, but Children of St. Martha is one of the schools that continues to get them for free.
“This is our fourth year taking part, and Mike and Nick generously donate all the blankets for free, so this year we received 220 blankets from Blankets of Hope, and we picked them up at the border because there’s no Canadian supplier,” said McIntosh.
The blankets will be picked up by SAGE Clan on Friday so everyone has enough time to write a letter to go with it.  On Tuesday McIntosh’s Kindergarten class wrote their letters along with Mrs. Colleen Maier’s first grade class.
Maier explained her class was in the process of watching a kindness video sent by the brothers explaining the process of getting the blankets of hope ready for distribution.
“They go through a little mindful exercise with the children just imagining what it would be like to be homeless and receiving a blanket and a kind note from someone,” said Maier.
Maier said she usually gets emotional during that part of the explanation as it is a very touching moment for everyone watching.
“Every year I learn something new, every year the letters they write just blow me away,” said Maier.
She said she is always positively surprised by her students’ ability to empathize and the kindness they show.
“It’s just a project near and dear to my heart and so thankful she’s (McIntosh) brought it to our school,” said Maier.
A fourth grade student Kissinger Chodiri has taken part in Blankets of Hope since he was in second grade and looks forward to it every year.
“The whole school puts notes on purple blankets because we want to give blankets to the homeless so that they don’t feel cold when they’re going to sleep outside,” said Chodiri.
He said it is great to be able to help those in need.
“It makes you feel happy because when you give somebody something that you want but you don’t need, it sometimes makes you feel happy,” said Chodiri.

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