11/8/2011 - Asheville blanket drive needs new or clean, gently used blankets
by Barbara Blake - Asheville Citizen Times
There are hundreds of people in our community who can put them to good use right now.
For the second year, Insurance Service of Asheville is hoping to "blanket" its Asheville neighbors on Nov. 17 with a drive for new or gently used blankets that will help people in need stay warm this winter.
In its two-pronged outreach program, ISA, in partnership with Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry and radio station 98.1 FM, The River, is donating 288 new, fleece blankets, enough to cover every bed in ABCCM's network of residential facilities.
The public's help is needed for the second initiative, the blanket drive 7 a.m.-noon in the Executive Park parking lot at the corner of College and Charlotte streets.
The need is drastic, said Cheryl Wilson, volunteer and special events director for ABCCM.
"We cannot keep blankets in our crisis ministry -- they go out as fast as they come in," Wilson said. "We go through thousands of blankets every winter."
Some of the blankets are used by homeless people living outdoors, but most go to families who have their own homes but can't afford to use their heating sources because of high energy costs.
"We have so many people who have to keep their homes really, really cool, and they need these extra blankets on their beds to stay warm," Wilson said.
ISA President Jim Stickney said his company holds the blanket drive to do "something practical and tangible" for the community during the holiday season.
"Because we provide coverage for people and businesses in Asheville through our insurance work, the blanket drive is a natural fit," Stickney said. "Many in our community can benefit from the donation of this basic necessity, and we want, with the public's help, to assist ABCCM in meeting this common need."
Those who donate one or more blankets will be invited to enjoy coffee and treats at the drop-off site, along with an air of festivity provided by the radio station's live remote team. More than 500 blankets were donated during last year's drive.
"Everybody has an extra blanket or two," Wilson said. "And every one of them could help keep somebody warm this winter."