07 November 2010

Fifth Annual "Blankets of Hope Marathon" generates 352 blankets in 8 hours

The 5th annual "Blankets of Hope Marathon", a unique community event created by Soldiers' Angels Lisa Dodson and Matt Dick, took place September 25th, 2010 at the Ascension Catholic Church in Bowie, MD.

Each year has been bigger than the last, and this year was no exception. Patriotic Americans of all ages showed up to make over 300 blankets for wounded service members recovering at Landstuhl hospital in Germany. "The first year they made 43 blankets and were so excited and proud of themselves," says Lisa Dodson. "This year it was 352 made in eight hours! Every year the event grows and grows."

The 150 volunteers in attendance, most of whom had participated in previous blanket-making marathons, drove up to 90 miles to participate. They were very enthusiastic and especially motivated by a story shared at the event. During a fundraising effort outside a local grocery store earlier in the year, a man pulled up his car to say, "I received one of those blankets earlier this year. Thank you, thank you." He then reached out the window to press something into an Angel’s hand and drove away. It was a $100 bill.

"I start getting questions within a month afterwards about when the next one will be,” says Lisa. "They get so excited! It really brings people together, and everyone leaves feeling so good about what they’ve done."

Preparations for each Marathon continue all year long, with Lisa and her husband Matt Dick rasising donations from friends and family who own businesses or have good relationships with businesses they use regularly. Companies, schools, a restaurant, individuals, local Lions Clubs and the local American Legion all pitched in with fundraising support that resulted in fabric for 180 blankets. In addition, each attendee of the event was asked to bring enough fleece to make at least one hand-tied blanket if possible.

Despite the current challenging economic situation, Lisa was able to raise more money than last year, with individual donations showing the greatest increase. Pico Textiles of California also stepped up, shipping hundreds of yards of fabric at no cost. Thanks to those donations the volunteers were able to make about 20 more blankets than last year, even though slightly fewer people participated.

Lisa would like to thank two fellow Angels who were particularly helpful in planning and preparations again this year: Maureen Barber and Valerie Potter - Lisa couldn't do it without you!

Here's some of your blankets that have already begun arriving in Germany.

Congratulations on another successful Marathon and THANK YOU all on behalf of the patients here at Landstuhl!

See more photos at the main SA website here, and photos of last year's event here.

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