Hillel donates blankets to those in need

With community organizations sensing a slide in donations , Hillel: The Jewish Student Center at the University of Minnesota , has found a way to do their part. Hillel has been making fleece blankets, about 120 in total, since summer to donate to the less fortunate. Half of those blankets went to victims of the Burnsville apartment complex fire in December, which killed two and left over 200 families homeless . Hillel members delivered those blankets over winter break. Their 60-blanket surplus was donated to People Serving People in downtown Minneapolis, as well as the St. Louis Park Emergency Program , with 30 blankets being donated to each organization. The blankets donated to PSP were received on Monday and are expected to be dispersed later this week. Lindsey Tiede , the volunteer coordinator at PSP, said the blankets will be distributed to the 100 families on a needs basis. Hillel Executive Director Sarah Routman said the group has had the blanket-making initiative for about three years. In addition to 30 blankets Hillel had left over from the summer, members began preparation for their blanket drive this year during Welcome Week, where students simply tied the fleece ends of the colorful blankets, completing 90 over a few hours, Hillel President Samantha Bass said. Excited about making a difference, Hillel Vice President Eve Shapiro said she was proud of the organizationâÄôs effort. âÄúI think it was especially notable considering the coldness of this particular winter that we had something that was extremely useful,âÄù she said. Although theyâÄôve had success with the blanket program, Shapiro said theyâÄôve had trouble in the past with other service initiatives, primarily transportation troubles âÄî having to âÄúscrambleâÄù to find someone to drive to various organizations. In spite of difficulties, Routman said members are in the process of making more blankets in preparation for another significant donation or two.