Syosset Students Donated Knitted Blankets For A Good Cause

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We Care Blankets was started in 2001 by Tamara Baker when she was in a pediatric oncology office studying a disease she had been suffering from and saw children undergoing chemotherapy.
“I decided there was a definite need and I decided to provide blankets for these children.”
Baker was able to garner a group of crocheters and knitters who would answer this call to provide children with these meaningful gifts, forming what We Care Blankets is today.
Recently, We Care Blankets partnered with Syosset High School’s Crochet and Knit Club. Soomi Chung, a Syosset High Senior senior, started the club with a few friends who like to crochet. The club wanted to embark on a project, eventually finding We Care Blankets through their advisor Kristina Holzweiss.
Baker said she found the students “phenomenal” during their initial Zoom meetings.
“I looked through the organization’s website and was so touched by their work and wanted to help out,” Chung said. “However, making blankets is a long process so we reached out to another knitting group for an extra hand. We collaborated with LifeWORC’s Knitty Committee and worked on blankets for the whole year.”
The Syosset High School Crochet and Knit Club presented their finished blankets to We Care Blankets on Aug. 24.
“It’s a great feeling,” Chung said. “We are so excited to finally be able to donate our blankets. Everyone in our club and other volunteers worked very hard on this project and we are happy to contribute to this beautiful cause. It’s amazing to me how a blanket and a little bit of your time could become something meaningful to another. Making these blankets was a memorable experience for me and hopefully for others who helped out as well.”
In the first two years of its operation, We Care Blankets was subsidized by an oncologist in Manhattan, who Baker said “liked what we were doing.” The group ended up servicing his hospital in Manhattan.
“For the past 21 years, we’ve been growing and growing,” Baker said. “We stepped up. All volunteer; volunteer knitters, crocheters, wrapper, delivery people. But we do pay for shipping because we have hospitals all across the country. Wherever children are being treated for cancer, we are there.”
In addition to providing children with blankets, We Care Blankets sends blankets and other handmade gifts to hospice centers, New York City firefighters, first responders suffering from 9/11 related-illnesses, homeless shelters, newborns in hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities and “wherever there is a need.”
These gifts put smiles on sick children’s faces, Baker said. And the parents are also often very touched to see people care so much about their children and providing them warmth through a beautiful gift.
“We are there for the children and we are also there for anybody who we can provide some happiness and some comfort and support,” Baker said.
Not only do the people receiving the gifts benefit from We Care Blankets, but the volunteers themselves have been able to find a circle of support and friendships.
“People come to us who are people who have suffered from cancer and have undergone treatment themselves,” Baker said. “We have young children who have undergone cancer and received our blankets and who came back to us to help us wrap blankets we provide.”
And We Care Blanket works with many houses of worship and groups like the Boy or Girl Scouts of America to accomplish their mission.
Knitting and crocheting has gained in popularity among all ages.
“I’ve noticed crocheting and knitting has gained popularity too,” Chung said. “It’s a trend on the Internet now. We see a lot of videos on social media of people crocheting cute clothes like crop tops, bucket hats, and other things like stuffed animals. I think this is one way people are drawn to crocheting. It’s a very fun hobby to learn because you can create so many things with crochet and it’s not as hard as it looks.”
And knitting and crocheting can also help people deal with stress, which is one of the reasons why Chung and her friends; Kate Liu, who serves as the vice president; Rachael Kuang, the secretary; Natalie Rumora, treasurer; and Chloe Ma and Mahnoor Faroog, social media and advertisement managers, formed their club at school.
“We wanted an after-school activity where students could come in and de-stress after a long day of school,” Chung said. “Many find that crocheting and knitting help clear their minds and relax.”
Visit www.wecareblankets.org for more information about We Care Blankets.

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