Cuddles for Cancer, the volunteer group that makes blankets for cancer patients, veterans and others, has found a new home at a Royal Canadian Legion in Lakefield.
On Tuesday, volunteers gathered at Legion Branch 77 on Nicholls Street to relaunch their service, which was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. Previously the group worked out of a drop-in centre in the village.
Spearheaded by Faith Dickinson and her parents in their home, Cuddles for Cancer celebrated its ninth anniversary on Canada Day. Since its inception, more than 8,500 fleece-tie Cuddle blankets have been delivered to 50 countries.
Dickinson’s efforts have been recognized globally, including two years ago when she received a Diana Award, named after Princess Diana, which recognizes youth making positive changes through their charities.
But the pandemic put the group’s work on hold. Dickinson resumed some blanket making at her home but not on the scale as the group produces.
“When the pandemic started we obviously couldn’t do any in-person things anymore, therefore our volunteers couldn’t come in and make the blankets at the drop-in location,” she said.
The now 18-year-old inquired with the legion to see if space would be available. The group will now use the facility on Tuesdays to resume their blanket making, she said.
“It doesn’t matter the place where we are, it just matters what we’re doing and that we’re together and it’s been absolutely fantastic,” she said.
Legion branch president Jim Marsden says Cuddles for Cancer will use the building’s upstairs space and is “welcome to use it any time it’s available.”
“We’re glad to be a part of it because it’s a great organization,” he said. “They’ve done an awful lot of veterans, and for everyone, really.”
For information about donations or volunteer services, visit Cuddles for Cancer’s website.