Good Neighbors

Community Comes Together To Make Hospital Less Scary For Kids

They hope to collect 10,000 security blankets for distribution at Buffalo's Children's Hospital.

Hospitals can be scary places, especially if you're a child. Having something as simple as a warm blanket that's just yours can provide kids a sense of security and reduce some of the stress of being sick and away from home.

That's the idea behind the annual Warm Up WNY blanket drive. In its fourth year, the drive brings together people from all over western New York to donate and even make colorful and warm blankets which are distributed to children at Buffalo's Oishea Children's Hospital.

Sen. Kennedy (center) at the kick off.Sen. Timothy Kennedy Facebook

The drive was started in 2016 by New York Senator Tim Kennedy after he learned that simple items like warm blankets and socks aren't a reimbursable expense for the hospital. Individuals, schools, non-profits and businesses participate by holding blanket-making parties and donation drives. It's a real community effort!

Volunteers make blankets at Nichols School.

Last year a group of 12 Buffalo-area construction companies threw their support behind the campaign. "When one of our children was rushed to the hospital several years ago, our family saw firsthand how blankets not only provide warmth and comfort, but also relieve a child's anxiety and ease the stress of a short of long-term hospital stay," Frank L. Ciminelli II told WGRZ-TV. Ciminelli is president of Arc Building Partners, the contractors group that's helping spearhead the effort.

Arc Building Partners members are participating for the second year.

This year's goal is to collect 10,000 blankets to add to the 30,000 that have been donated and distributed since the drive's inception. "A blanket brings a reminder of home to a child who can find a hospital to be a frightening place and I am so grateful that the people of Western New York helped us," said Sen. Kennedy.

Warm fuzzy blankets for frightened children? Kind of makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

How can you start something good?

If you live in the Buffalo area, you can drop off NEW blankets, through the end of March, at 40 locations (click here and scroll to the bottom) which include:

Oishei Children's Hospital
818 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Sen. Tim Kennedy's Office
2239 South Park Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220

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