‘Happiness is a warm blanket’ made and donated by the Marco Island Woman’s Club
Linus from the Peanuts’ comic strip once told his best friend, “Happiness is a warm blanket, Charlie Brown.” The words of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz are simple, but true. Far more than just a bed covering, a blanket can be a source of security, comfort, and healing for a child away from home, especially for a child in the hospital.
Since 2016, the Stitch Makers, a group of quilters, seamstresses, knitters, and “crocheters” of the Marco Island Woman’s Club (MIWC) have been creating and donating blankets, quilts, and other items to the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, as well as to Al’s Pals, and Manatee Elementary School.
In those years, they have produced and delivered 931 blankets, 716 hats, 40 sweaters, and 22 booties. Stitch Makers chair Anne Marchetti and MIWC member Sharyn Kampmeyer recently made a trip to Golisano Hospital to deliver the group’s latest donation of 117 blankets, 19 wrapped bags of preemie blankets, sweaters, hats, and booties, and 10 preemie hats – enough to fill a large bin provided by the hospital.
The donation included several “tied up fleece blankets” created through a project coordinated by MIWC Community Outreach chair Jill DiZio and the Girl Up program of Manatee Middle School. In a flurry of scissors, fleece, and fabric, the union of Girl Up and Stitch Makers created an assortment of blankets that will bring comfort and healing to our tiniest, most precious angels at the Children’s Hospital. Funding for this project was sponsored by the Woman’s Club.
Stitch Makers chair Anne Marchetti has been a driving force of the amazing Stitch Makers from the beginning, but she humbly credits the accomplishments to all who have contributed to this mission. She says, “All of our preemie sets including preemie blankets, hats, sweaters, and booties are made by MIWC member Kathy Porcaro. Marie Senechal donated 15 quilts this time. Whenever I call Marie to see if she would like to donate, she always does it immediately with a big smile!” Senechal, a longtime Marco Island resident, has been making quilts for many years, using her creative talents to miraculously combine color and texture in a blanket approach of healing for children in need.
Marchetti goes on to thank all the Stitch Makers and all those who have chosen to donate, saying “There are so many who donate to this group just because they have heard about our work. I must thank Iolanda Scola, Becky Miller, and Gia Decicco who are not members, but always donate.” Sharyn Kampmeyer also recalled the story of a man whose mother had passed away, leaving behind several bins of yarn and unfinished blankets. He contacted the group to donate these items. The Stitch Makers then magically transformed them into gifts of love and warmth for some incredibly special children.
On delivery day, Marchetti and Kampmeyer were welcomed with deep gratitude by Golisano Hospital staff members. Music therapist Tracey Faillia was overjoyed at the generous donation for which there was such great need. Stacie Kmetz, Certified Child Life Specialist emailed Marchetti before she even made it back to Marco Island, stating “We have already given out some of the blankets and there have been some BIG smiles!”
The Stitch Makers are planning their next blanket delivery for November/early December. Donations are always needed and appreciated. Anne Marchetti has reached out to members of the Marco Island Woman’s Club and the entire community with a special request, saying “If you haven’t stitched in a while, please consider getting your yarn out and starting a blanket … or two!”
Even if you do not sew or knit, donations of money and supplies will benefit this wonderful cause. It is an opportunity to blanket our little ones with love, hope, and healing. For more information, please contact Anne Marchetti at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Marco Island Woman’s Club, please visit https://marcowomansclub.com.