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It was not so very long ago that quilting bees were a commonplace occurrence. They were gatherings of friends and neighbors who came together to work on creating a quilt, to talk, and to socialize. As time passed, the necessary sewing skills seemed to die with older generations, and as a result quilting bees became a quaint but infrequent activity of times-gone-by.  

The cold winter weather is an especially challenging time for low-income families who cannot afford to heat their homes adequately. Many of our neighbors are forced to add supplemental heat their homes using their kitchen stoves and ovens, inadequately ventilated kerosene heaters, and other unsafe heating methods. Often, the only thing that separates cold people from comfort is a warm blanket.

On February 15, NCCS held their first ever “Warm Hearts Blanket Bee” which saw 26 caring women come together to create fleece blankets which are being distributed through the NCCS Housing and Family Services department to individuals and families who are homeless or are unable to adequately heat their homes. NCCS has received a total of 30 completed blankets so far. A really neat feature of these Blanket Bees is the no-sew method used to create the blankets, which ensures that almost anyone can do it; there is no sewing experience necessary! NCCS is inviting volunteers to donate their time by creating more blankets for at-risk children, seniors, and families at future Blanket Bees. Their goal is to create and distribute 250 blankets in 2011, but they need plenty of help to reach that goal. NCCS will be hosting Warm Hearts Blanket Bees on a quarterly basis. The dates and times are as follows - Saturday, May 7, 10:00am-12:00pm ~ Family Day! Tuesday, September 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm. Thursday, November 17, 5:30pm-7:30pm
 
There are plenty of other ways to get involved if you cannot attend a Warm Hearts Blanket Bee. NCCS gratefully accepts donations of fleece or cash donations to cover the costs of making a blanket, which average around $25. You may also make fleece blankets in the comfort of your own home. Directions for double-layer fleece blankets can be obtained by visiting www.nccscares.org, or at the NCCS Service Center on M-82, just south of Fremont. NCCS would also like to encourage church groups to take on this initiative to help them meet their goal of 250 blankets. If you are interested in coordinating your own Warm Hearts Blanket Bee at your church or other location, please contact Lora Stevens, NCCS Volunteer Coordinator, at (231) 924-0641, ext. 119 or lstevens@nccscares.org. Join NCCS in warming hearts, and participating in the modern version of a quilting bee!
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