Blankets providing comfort for families in need

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The effort to keep families warm this winter took a big step forward.

Project Warm-Up has distributed nearly 30,000 blankets to families in need over the past 16 years. The organization hosted its annual blanket party Saturday at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary.

“Over the course of the day, we collected about 1,000 blankets and they were immediately sorted out to boys and girls and by size, boxed up and shipped out to schools so the schools received all of the blankets yesterday already and they’re able to get those out to kids before this long holiday break,” Project Warm-Up Coordinator Tracy Vik said.

The entire Sioux Falls School District received blankets, but the project’s reach extends beyond schools and Sioux Falls.

“We got a call from Lower Brule last week and they really need some. They’ve got a lot of folks that are hospitalized with COVID right now and asked for some blankets and so we’re sending them off to Lower Brule as well,” Vik said.

“It’s all about helping families that are having a hard time,” second-grade teacher Florencia Nievas-Hawk said.

Nieves-Hawk is a second grade teacher from Argentina. She’s been helping make blankets for about eight years and recruited some family last year.

“My brother came from Argentina last year to visit for the holidays and we brought some blankets home. Because it was the pandemic time, we didn’t have the big party here at the school so we brought some blankets home and we did that,” Nievas-Hawk said.

This year she has a friend from Argentina who plans to help make blankets.

Vik says Project Warm-Up has come a long way since making 100 blankets back in 2006, and it’s a mission she’ll continue for years to come.

“If a family is going to ask for blankets, we’re going to get them to them,” Vik said.

Vik says Project Warm-Up is now looking into the possibility of sending blankets to Kentucky for victims of last week’s tornados.

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