Blanket Collection Reaches Record High

University Communications and Marketing | 11/09/2022

First Row: Lois Schultz, Nurse Family Partnership Supervisor; (Very Rev.) Malachi Van Tassel, T.O.R., Ph.D., University President; Melody Ray, Healing Patch Coordinator; and Dr. Lisa Beiswenger. Second Row: Bernie Storm, Dr. Robin Cadwallader, Melita O’Donnell, and Abbie Malloy.


The Saint Francis University Community Blanketeer group set a record high this fall with the collection of 381 beautiful quilted, crocheted, knitted, and tied blankets that will be distributed to sick and needy children through the Healing Patch and Nurse Family Partnership (Home Nursing Agency); blankets will also brighten the days of residents at Amber Hills and Cambria Care Center. We have been active on campus since 2006, and over the past 16 years have donated more than 2,718 blankets to local children in need in Cambria County, Blair County, and surrounding areas. Each year our blanketeers focus on creating comfy, soft blankets for babies and young children. In 2020, we extended our blanket collection to include lap blankets for the elderly. This year, donations were also made to Dauntless Fire Company in Ebensburg, Cresson Volunteer Fire Company, Nanty Glo Fire Company, and local ambulance associations to assist in caring for those affected by emergency situations. Thanks to local community blanketeers from Altoona, Cresson, Ebensburg, Johnstown, Loretto, Patton, and Portage for contributing to this year’s blanket collection, and to Clare Ann Lasinsky and Dr. Lisa Beiswenger for sewing the blanketeer tags on each blanket. It is through the generous efforts of so many individuals that this year’s blanket collection was our most successful year yet.


Over the past few years, the Healing Patch has distributed the blankets in "comfort bags" along with various other items (i.e. tissues, a memory book, a picture frame, a teddy bear, etc.) to children following the death of a loved one. Additionally, the blankets have been distributed to Healing Patch participants during program activities centered around fears, worries, sleeping issues, etc. to provide comfort during the difficulties and isolation throughout the nighttime hours...a common struggle for many young children during illness or following the death of a loved one.


Providing free, comprehensive educational, homecare, & mentoring services to first-time mothers, Nurse-Family Partnership® registered nurses will distribute blankets to newborns and toddlers within the program. These special blankets will be used for warm swaddling, tummy play time, and creating cozy snuggles with Mom or Dad. The Saint Francis group was formed by Dr. Robin L. Cadwallader, Dr. Margaret A. Kealey, and Melita O’Donnell. For additional information regarding the Saint Francis University Community Blanketeers, please contact Melita O’Donnell at Founded in 1847, Saint Francis University is the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the country and one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the nation.