RKVC warms hearts with hand-made blankets

Kathleen Ambre

Dress-up days, mid-morning trivia, and a speedy-Zahedi pep fest spiced up an otherwise ordinary week. However, Red Knight Volunteer Corps’ (RKVC) fleece blanket service project made sure to integrate the important values of generosity and compassion on the Tuesday and Thursday of Catholic School’s week.

Prompted to start the project last year, coordinator Trish Hogan of northwestern Minnesota has helped supply children foster homes and shelters with much needed blankets. She has also succeeded in encouraging high schools and various organizations across the state to get involved.

Among the first community groups to support the cause, the Falls Student Council in Koochiching County, as well an additional group made up of women with foster children, have worked together to make enough blankets for every child in the county. To further benefit communities outside of their own, an additional 28 blankets were donated to a homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis. A notable member of the women’s group in Koochiching, Hogan’s dedication to the cause has greatly influenced the people around her. She continues to appreciate contributions made in her county locally but hopes that the blanket-tying project will grow to include more communities.

The inspiration of Hogan as well as freshman Natalie Walsh, led Mr. Zachary Zeckser, theology teacher and volunteer coordinator, to incorporate the cause into Benilde-St. Margaret’s’ Red Knight Volunteer Corps. As a result, the BSM community has been given an opportunity to get involved. “She happened to send us an e-mail the same time that ninth grader Natalie Walsh asked me about doing the fleece blankets for RKVC, so the two things happened at the same time just by coincidence,” said Mr. Zeckser.

Once students and parents were informed of the service project, many donated the fleece material to make blankets. “Some people donate the fleece they aren’t even using,” said Mr. Zeckser.

To correlate with Catholic school’s week, the junior and senior high RKVC members met twice after school to tie blankets. At the meetings, students proved to be fully committed to the cause, walking away Thursday with around 35 blankets made. “It’s been very successful the first time through. It was pretty easy to pull off,” said Mr. Zeckser when asked on the project’s early success. “I’m not surprised that a lot of people showed up.”

Thanks to the participation of students and generosity of parents, the Red Knight Volunteer Corps. has succeeded in making a valuable contribution to homeless shelters across the Twin Cities. “It’s important for kids to get involved in service because it helps us figure out who we are and where we fit into the great scheme of things,” said Mr. Zeckser, “we’re each a piece of something bigger than ourselves.”