Catholic Charities Community Outreach Services recently received a generous donation of 600 blankets from PS 127 in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn through Blankets of Hope. Blankets of Hope is an educational 501 (c)3 nonprofit that helps students practice empathy and kindness in an impactful service-learning experience.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will distribute the donated blankets to neighbors in need throughout the food pantry network, centers for pregnant women and asylum seeker programs.
Through the Blankets of Hope campaign, students participated in a Kindness Workshop that explained the initiative and wrote letters to the recipients of the blankets. Ample time was taken in the classroom to have discussions with PS 127 students about their feelings. The students were excited to participate in this movement of kindness, allowing them to give back to their community but they also expressed feelings of sadness when they realized so many individuals in their community are without shelter and other basic necessities.
“The secret of living is giving,” said Ms. Amanda Carestia, second-grade teacher. “It makes me thrilled to see my students and school community participating in a global movement of kindness, one blanket at a time, well in P.S. 127’s case 600 blankets this time.”
“I felt amazing while participating in Blankets of Hope,” said fifth-grader Maria K. “It was great because it really felt like I was helping out with something important in the community. I feel so proud to be just a kid tackling such an important issue in our home state. Of course I understand we aren’t solving the problem, but just knowing we are putting a smile on someone’s face makes me feel special.”
“Blankets of Hope taught me to have empathy towards other people,” said third-grader Elijah. “When my teacher first told us about this project, I immediately thought of a homeless man I see when I walk to my grandma’s. I asked my teacher if I can give the blanket to him, I was so happy when she said yes!”
The letters contained messages telling the individuals receiving the blankets that the students cared for, believed in them, and hoped the blankets would keep them warm and cozy during the cold weather months.
The Blankets of Hope Campaign is a national movement that hopes to inspire a global movement of kindness, one blanket at a time.
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About Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens:
For over 124 years, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, through its social services arm, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc., has been providing quality social services to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens and currently offers 160-plus programs and services for children, youth, adults, older adults, and those struggling with mental illness. Since 1975, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation, the affordable housing developer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has been transforming vacant land and buildings into affordable housing units and transforming the lives of individuals and families, and completed more than 4,450 units with supportive services for seniors, families, veterans and the formerly homeless. Since the pandemic began, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has provided much-needed food packages and services at 60 Catholic Charities parish-based food pantries and has distributed over $8.5 million in food.