For the third year, the Marco Lutheran Church will coordinate giving fleece blankets to every one of the 950 students in grades 6-8 at Manatee Middle School.

“The last two years has been a big success and appreciated by the students,” said Dory Catalano, who heads the project.

The blankets cost between $10-12 each. The church accepts donations of blankets and cash from its members as well as from the community.

Catalano heads the project, but she does not want to take credit. Betty Fry and Kristy Wiley and the board of human care also are helping out.

“If we can get the community involved, we would appreciate it,” said Catalano.

The church will be collecting blankets from Oct. 18-Nov. 29. Checks can be made out to Marco Lutheran Church designating “blankets.”

“I was present when they were distributed last year and it was very humbling,” said Catalano, describing the project as rewarding and worthwhile.

One student wrote in a thank-you note to the church that it was her first Christmas gift ever.

Here are portions of a few thank-you notes from the kids.

• “I love my blanket so much! It’s cozy and warm- I really appreciate you giving to our school.”

• “I am one of the kids who received a blanket. I just wanted to say thank you. You see I have never celebrated Christmas in my entire life and the blanket was the first Christmas gift I have ever received. Thank You!”

• “Thank you for being considerate and donating that much to our school. We need more people like you in this nation. I thank you so much and hope to repay you someday.”

Many recipients write that the blanket is the best present they have every received. Some of the students give their blanket to their mothers, sisters or little brothers.

“I cherish every note we receive from the children,” said Catalano. “I keep every one of them in a special box at my home. From our past experience, reaching our goal is possible. God bless Marco Lutheran Church and our community.”

Want to help?

For more information call Betty Fry at 239 394-8713. Marco Lutheran Church is at 529 N. Collier Blvd.

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