MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 28, 2013

Blanket collection under way

Campaign’s goal is 5,000

By E.I. Hillin
Phoenix Staff Writer

— David Thompson wants you to know you can help keep someone warm in Muskogee in 2014.

The ninth annual Spread the Warmth Blanket Drive will be accepting donations at two locations in Muskogee, including Lake Country Chevrolet-Cadillac, where Thompson is general manager.

“This is our first year,” Thompson said.

The other collection site is the Volunteers of America Oklahoma office.

“There’s nothing like handing someone who’s cold a blanket,” said Monica Champ of Volunteers of America Oklahoma.

More than 4,700 blankets were donated last year in the Spread the Warmth Blanket Drive. The goal for 2014 is 5,000.

Lake Country Chevrolet will take the blankets to UniFirst, a laundry in Broken Arrow, to be cleaned. Then, they will distribute them in the Muskogee area.

“Everything donated here will stay local in Muskogee,” Thompson said.

People have already began to drop off blankets at the dealership.

Coordinators for the blanket drive took the opportunity to deliver blankets after a recent meeting. Champ and Thompson took a tour of UniFirst.    

“We actually delivered blankets to homeless people that night,” Thompson said.

Champ said, “One of the things we did this year was go with Holy Joe’s and met a couple who needed blankets.

“They had planned on sleeping outdoors,” Champ said. “When you think how cold you get and how uncomfortable it would be — we take a lot for granted.”

That night, they were able to provide warmth as well as celebrate with a homeless woman they encountered.

“It turns out it was her birthday,” Champ said.

The group also sang “Happy Birthday” to the woman.

The blankets collected will be given to individuals served by the Volunteers of America Oklahoma and distribution partners.

Blankets donated from Muskogee also will go to the Gospel Rescue Mission.

“You can help keep someone warm this winter,” Champ said.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

You can help

WHAT: Spread the Warmth Blanket Drive.

WHEN: Jan. 2 to 31.

WHERE: Donation drop-off locations: Lake Country Chevrolet-Cadillac, 144 W. Shawnee Bypass; Volunteers of America, 3536 Chandler Road.

INFORMATION: Monica Champ, (918) 307-1500.