Special blankets are a favorite keepsake for both of my children.They've loved every last one that was hand quilted or knitted or bought from a store, gifted from various loved ones. In the warmer months I've had to continually put them back up in the closet as they get out one after another and pile too many on their beds.
The girls could hardly believe it when I told them some kids just like them in Guatemala might not have their own blankets or cushy beds or their own rooms. They got the opportunity to complete their own special gift of a blanket for one of those children, using the tie method on two rectangles of fleece. I stitched a satin edge around a couple of other pieces of fleece fabric. So, our three simple blankets will add a tiny bit of warmth to the 100 others that the Neustros Ninos group plans on sending to the highlands of Guatemala.
"It keeps them warm and shows that somebody cares about them," said Knoxville, Tennessee mom Angela Grussing of how a simple gift of a blanket can help a Guatemalan child, "I think it means a whole lot to them." Grussing heads up the group that plans on distributing the blankets and helping out in several ways when they visit in November and again next summer. Temperatures get down into the 40s at night in the beautiful country called the "land of eternal spring."
Grussing founded Neustros Ninos (Our Children) after she and her husband adopted two Guatemalan children and began a family tradition of giving back to the indigenous communities. She says her visits have shown her what a land of contrasts Guatemala can be. Poor tenant farmers grow crops of corn, carrots and melons, letting that food go to the nation's wealthy. Yet many of those farmers struggle to provide enough food for their own families to eat. The nonprofit group now provides basics like food baskets, flocks of chickens and ventilated cook stoves to improve everyday life.
Grussing plans on spending this Thanksgiving visiting preschools in the village of El Barranco. Her group will deliver gifts of simple toys and help the children make memory books with their own photos. They'll help serve food to the elderly. And they'll hand out those warm blankets, several that Knoxville area children tied with their own hands.