Lethbridge’s Children of St. Martha School participated in the Blankets of Hope project again this year.
Given the current cold snap the city is experiencing, students thought it was the best time to distribute warm blankets and letters of encouragement to those who need it most.
On Friday morning, students gathered in their gym for the initiative — their school is one of only three in Canada to take part.
The campaign originated in New York four years ago but the initiative has since spread across North America.
“Giving the blankets is an amazing process for sure,” said Laurier McIntosh, a kindergarten teacher at the school. “We give back to the community, but there’s this process of coming together as a school community as well, and really practising the empathy and kindness.
“Those aren’t just skills we’re born with, we have to practise them in order to give them away.”
Students spent the morning writing letters of encouragement that they would later attach to 288 blankets.
Half the blankets were given to the Streets Alive Mission while the other half will be distributed at a later date to those who could use the extra warmth.
“A lot of the people we deal with don’t have hope in their lives, so receiving a little note saying you matter, you’re loved… it makes a huge difference in their day,” said Trevor Graham, a representative from Streets Alive Mission.
“They don’t get that on a regular basis from people.”
Before the letter writing began, students watched a video about the founders of Blankets of Hope and got a chance to Skype with them.
Some students said the interaction will have a lasting impact.
“I would say my favourite part about today was watching that video and my heart, it just boosted with joy,” said Abel Horton, a student at the school, “joyful of what they’ve done for a lot of people.”
One of the letters was written by Raeana Snell.
“Dear loved one, just because I can’t see you, that doesn’t mean you’re not loved,” the letter read. “You are you and that’s all that matters. You are amazing you are the change in the world because you are probably freezing. Here is a blanket and I am praying for you.”
“I would like to do this all year around and if they don’t to do it at my next school I go to, I will be very upset and I will gladly just come back to this school and do it,” Snell said.