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For the second year in a row, the North Suburban YMCA (NSYMCA) will host its free Pet Blanket Making event. The opportunity will let local pet lovers donate essential animal supplies and create their own fleece pet blankets for sheltered animals.

The campaign will take place on February 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All blankets and other pet supplies will be donated to the Wright-Way Rescue, Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter and Heartland Animal Shelter.

Kathy Fielding, the CEO of the NSYMCA, said the idea was first formed when a social responsibility committee member who worked at an animal shelter noticed they needed a variety of donations. They then reached out to see what type of donations were most needed.

“Every one of these sheltered animals needs to be taken care of by providing them food, shelter and veterinary care,” said Fielding. “The behavior of most domestic animals is mainly observed by how we treat them. If we treat them with good care, love and compassion, they will show the same love and respect towards us.”

Event Details and Reaction

The NSYMCA is accepting donations for the following items for the Pet Blanket Making event and animal shelters:

  • One yard of fleece material needed per blanket.
  • Paper towels.
  • Cat litter.
  • Paper.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Mops, brooms and buckets.
  • Trash and contractor bags.
  • Unopened pet food.
  • Office supplies.
  • Dog and cat Toys.
  • Kongs and puzzle feeder toys.
  • Leashes, collars and harnesses.
  • Royal Canin kitten food.

Fielding said the outpour of donations and interest in last year’s social responsibility event was “incredible.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re finding the community wants to come together to help get more involved in our social responsibility events,” said Fielding. “Last year the event drew about 50 people ranging from four to 70 years of age, and more than 70 blankets were hand-made. We’re expecting a greater number this year because more people are coming to live events.”

Additionally, because extra fleece supplies were donated, the NSYMCA enlisted the help of after-school Y-Time children. The children added another 20 blankets to the donation while learning the importance of giving back and making a positive difference in the world.

“Many participants viewed their volunteerism as the perfect opportunity to do something good for the community together,” said Fielding. “By volunteering, we contribute to a cause we’re truly passionate about while simultaneously creating a better community to live in.”

Benefits and Advice on Animal Outreach

Fielding said research shows children who are supported in their love for animals tend to generalize that love to other living things, such as plants and nature.

“In addition, when children are encouraged to care for animals, they tend to be more sensitive and caring toward other people as well,” said Fielding. “When we support a child’s love for animals, we’re helping to nurture the feelings of connection and stewardship as well.”

For other community rec centers who may develop similar social responsibility events benefitting animals, Fielding said to check with your local shelters and see what their needs are. From there, start a donation drive and a volunteer event around the activity.

“Last year, the shelters said in addition to the requested donated items, they needed blankets,” said Fielding. “Thus, we created an event where families could come and tie blankets, an activity for all ages. Also make sure you have plenty of storage space. Our community is very generous and donates a lot.”

Look for more social responsibility events at the NSYMCA by visiting nsymca.org.


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John Reecer

John Reecer is an assistant editor at Peake Media.

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