Homeless Memorial Blanket Project hopes to collect 500 blankets

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - One advocate with Maine roots is leading the charge to make sure the nation’s homeless population is blanketed with love this holiday season.

Pat LaMarche founded the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project in 2021 with the thought of collecting about 20 handmade blankets, but she ended up with 219.

LaMarche, who is from Maine and twice ran for governor, is setting the bar even higher this year.

She hopes to collect at least 500 blankets that she’ll bring to Washington, D.C. to cover the West Lawn of the Capitol.

“The US Congress is the most powerful building in the world. And they’re going to be in session and we want them to work out the window and say, ‘Holy cow. There’s a half million hours of work out there from people who want us to do something about homelessness,” said LaMarche.

The installation is planned for Dec. 21, which is also National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day.

Afterwards, the blankets will be brought back to the states they came from so shelters and other community organizations can get them into the hands of the people who need them.

“There’s so much loss involved in homelessness. You can’t keep your possessions, you lose everything and to have something that was made by somebody that actually knows your situation and is thinking about you is quite heartfelt,” said Janet Russell of Bangor.

“There’s a feeling of power in this and your ability to literally, physically say, ‘I spent 100 hours thinking about you. I invested my time in you while I made this blanket and I want you to know that I love you even though I’ve never met you,” said LaMarche

While this is a nationwide effort, LaMarche says Mainers are stepping up in a special way.

That was evident Wednesday at the Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop in Bangor, which served as a drop-off location.

“I know homelessness is a huge crisis for our country. And this is a little way we can help in our local area because not everybody’s homeless by their own choice. Some have had unfortunate circumstances that have put them in that place,” said Evelyn Caruso, co-owner of the Cotton Cupboard Quilt.

“I’m not the least bit surprised by how wonderful Maine is. But I’m so impressed. Every person who’s spent months of their life this year to make a blanket is going to eliminate a small amount of suffering,” said LaMarche

If you have a blanket you’ve made that you’d like to donate, LaMarche says you can reach out to schedule a drop off.

You can find contact information on the project’s website, https://memorialblanket.org/.