Updated: Jan 27
The founders of KindCraft wanted to be able to offer families with younger children the opportunity to volunteer and give back in the community. KindCraft actually started with the no sew fleece blanket event back in 2016. The co-founders wanted their kids to be involved in a hands on project that they could really feel a part of. A group of friends got together in a school gymnasium and made blankets for sick children at Children's Mercy Hospital.
This event is now an annual KindCraft event and we have been able to bless many organizations with hundreds of blankets over the years. We love this project because it not only allows for a fun opportunity for kids to serve others, but it also introduces families to a lot of local organizations that they may want to volunteer with in the future.
For our SIXTH annual KindCraft blanket making event, we were not able to gather as a large group like we usually do, due to the COVID pandemic. But that didn't stop us from spreading kindness. We asked for volunteers to be Project Coordinators to lead groups of families in making blankets safely from the comfort of their own home. The KindCraft community rose to the occasion and we had about 20 Project Coordinators apply for the role. With just a little support along the way from KindCraft, these Project Coordinators led groups in making no sew fleece blankets. Each group was given a list of local organizations that we have donated to in the past, or thought might like to receive blankets. The groups discussed who they would like to make blankets for by learning about possible recipients, or based on a personal connection to a certain nonprofit. For example, one girl chose Hospice House because of how much they supported her loved one. We think it is so important for the kids to play a role in choosing who receives their donation. It really helps them to connect to the project and leads to some thoughtful conversations.
The Project Coordinators led a variety of groups including, neighbors, girl scouts, friends, sports teams, school clubs, and church groups. They recruited people to make blankets; taught the group how to make a no sew fleece blanket; collected blankets over a period of about a month, and then delivered the blankets to the recipients. Check out these project highlights submitted by our Project Coordinators.
Blanket Recipient: Sunflower House
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Dawn Moore
For our 6th annual no sew fleece blanket event, Dawn Moore stepped up to be a Project Coordinator. Dawn has been an active member of KindCraft for several years now and we were thrilled when she stepped up to lead a blanket group! Check out these 18 beautiful, cozy blankets they made and donated to two different organizations!
The group chose Sunflower House to receive some of the blankets they made. Sunflower House was the first Children’s Advocacy Center in Kansas. Sunflower House is an expert in child abuse intervention and prevention services.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Sunflower House here: https://sunflowerhouse.org/volunteer-opportunities/
Blanket Recipient: Olathe Animal Shelter
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Dawn Moore
When KindCraft was first established, we had to determine our mission and it was recommended to us that we not make our mission too broad.
Our mission is to create a community of compassionate children through engagement and involvement in humanitarian service projects related to aiding, clothing and feeding those in need."
As animal lovers we were pretty bummed not to include pets in our mission statement for KindCraft. But over the years, we have found ways to still support our furry friends.
Thanks to Project Coordinator Dawn Green Moore and her awesome group of blanket makers, these blankets were donated to the Olathe Animal Shelter. The Olathe Animal Shelter was very excited to receive the blankets and dog toys. So happy that our furry friends will be comforted with these soft blankets this year!
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with the Olathe Animal Shelter here.
Blanket Recipient: The Shadow Buddies Foundation
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Katie Timm
"The Shadow Buddies Foundation is a children’s charity dedicated to providing support and knowledge to children with severe illnesses and disabilities. The foundation accomplishes this through unique programs designed to enhance the lives of children and adults by fostering compassion and awareness of differences with our line of 31 condition-specific “Shadow Buddy” dolls. Crafted from muslin and carefully researched to represent a child’s medical or emotional condition, Shadow Buddies offer seriously ill or medically challenged children the companionship of a friend “just like me.”
KindCraft isn't always fortunate enough to see the end result of our volunteer work. But we were happily surprised to spot our blankets in a picture posted by The University of Kansas Health System. Santa Claus delivered toys under the protection of KUPD and Federal agents. The toys were donated from The Shadow Buddies Foundation holiday toy drive and our blankets were included in that donation. To see the entire heartwarming story, click here.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with the The Shadow Buddies Foundation here.
Blanket Recipient: Max's Treehouse
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Jill Ide
Blanket Project Coordinator Jill Ide volunteered to lead a group in making no sew fleece blankets for Max's Treehouse. Max's Treehouse is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides needs, education, and support for children from hard places. Founder, Nicole Baccus, started this organization as a way of creating good from something that went so wrong. Nicole is a former foster child that grew up in over 30 different foster homes. Her story is so moving and we love that she was able to take her life experiences and turn them into something positive for SO many.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Max's Treehouse here.
Blanket Recipients: Mission Southside and Kids TLC
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Jennifer Puhak
Girl Scout Unit 678, led by Project Coordinator Jennifer Puhak made 126 blankets for KidsTLC and Mission Southside. Partnering with the Girl Scouts is something KindCraft has always loved and they always bring such a fun level of enthusiasm to our projects. Thank you so much to all the scout families who participated in this project.
KidsTLC transforms the lives of children and families experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges, developmental trauma, and autism.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with KidsTLC here.
Jennifer Puhak's group also donated blankets to Mission Southside, a local organization that KindCraft has partnered with many times over the years.
Mission Southside has a neighbor’s heart … a heart that loves Jesus Christ and one that genuinely cares about the needs of others. Mission Southside is not a church, but partners with churches, “helps” organizations, businesses, and individuals to bring hope to Johnson County, KS through the meeting of both physical and spiritual needs.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Mission Southside here.
Blanket Recipient: KC Angels Love Boxes
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Molly Kleinwolterink
Our next Project Coordinator, Molly Kleinwolterink, introduced KindCraft to an organization that we have not partnered with yet called KCMO Angels, a nonprofit that supports the foster care system through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship.
Molly led her group in making no sew fleece blankets for the KCMO Angels Love Boxes. The December Love Boxes were filled with the following types of items: a gingerbread house kit, matching family Christmas pajamas, stocking stuffers for the children at home (crafts, books, stickers), stocking stuffers for the parents (candle, mug, lotion, gift cards) practical items like batteries, garbage bags, cleaning products, and gift wrapping supplies.
The KindCraft blankets were added to the Love Boxes and every foster child received a blanket.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with KCMO Angels here.
Blanket Recipient: KVC
KindCraft Project: Coordinator: Bethanie Wilson
Led by Project Coordinator Bethanie Willson, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 14, made 32 fleece blankets and donated them to the organization of their choice-KVC.
Whenever we ask for someone to lead, collect, show up early, etc Bethanie is always one of the first to volunteer. She led her troop in choosing an organization, making the blankets, and dropping them off to KVC. Her troop made the cozy blankets as part of their Silver Award. Along with making 32 blankets, the girls also collected $200 in gift cards as well.
KindCraft has partnered with KVC Kansas over the years and we admire the work they do for local families. We were thrilled to hear that Bethanie's group chose them as the recipient of their blankets. KVC helps over 12,000 Kansas children and their families each year through prevention services (family preservation), foster care case management, family reunification services, adoption, outpatient behavioral health and more.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with KVC Kansas here.
Blanket Recipient: Healing House
KindCraft Project Coordinators: Jamie Graham and Stacey Baldwin
Healing House, Inc. is a non-profit, faith-based substance abuse recovery organization. “We work in the Kansas City metropolitan area to provide safe and stable homes with opportunities for spiritual and personal growth along with purposeful guidance and support for men and women who are committed to overcoming their addiction and becoming responsible, productive, drug and alcohol free members of our community.”
These 56 handmade with love KindCraft blankets were passed out to people living on the streets, under bridges like the one pictured below. Hoping and praying that our blankets will cushion their bodies from the cold, hard cement.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Healing House here.
Blanket Recipient: Olathe School District Community Development
KindCraft Project Coordinators: Jami Jo Lutt and Amanda Bledsoe
Project Coordinators Jami Jo Lutt and Amanda Bledsoe led several groups including Girls Scout troop 2000, and Olathe Northwest Raven Service Club in making blankets for the Olathe School District Community Development which serves children and families in need in the district.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Olathe School District Community Development here.
Blanket Recipient: Foster Adopt Connect
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Christi Steiner
Thank you all for donating 20 blankets to FosterAdopt Connect. Foster Adopt Connect serves abused and neglected children and the families caring for them. The team chose a wonderful organization to give their blankets to and I know they will provide comfort to many during challenging times. Way to go ladies!!!
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Foster Adopt Connect here.
Blanket Recipient: Renewed Hope Food Pantry
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Erica Pivinski
Erica Pivinski led a Girl Scout troop in making these 10 blankets for ReNewed Hope Food Pantry. Renewed Hope Food Pantry is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to fill the hunger gap while bringing encouragement and hope to our neighbors facing food insecurity.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Renewed Hope Food Pantry here.
Blanket Recipients: Hospice House and Hands to Hearts
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Anna Starke
Project Coordinator Anna Starke led Girl Scout Troop 3800 in making fleece blankets this year. The girls chose two organizations to receive their blankets-Hospice House and Hands to Hearts. Anna told me about how each organization was chosen. We love that the first was chosen based on personal experience.
Olathe Health Hospice Care has been operating for more than 30 years, providing services to patients who are facing end-of-life illnesses. Anna explained, "Hospice House was a personal choice for one of my girls. They helped in the final days of her grandpa and her grandmother was allowed to keep the blanket they provided to him." Troop 3800 donated 8 blankets to Hospice House.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Hospice House here.
Hands to Hearts
Hands to Hearts is a nonprofit organization helping kids in Kansas City with food, clothing and books! Hands to Hearts was chosen because several girls from Troop 3800 wanted to pick an organization that helped the less fortunate. Ten blankets were donated to Hands to Hearts.
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Hands to Hearts here.
Blanket Recipient: Mission Southside and Fort Dodge Police Department
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Kristen Willingham
Project Coordinator Kristen Willingham led a group of families in making approximately 20 blankets for Mission Southside that will be given out over time as new families join their site team. Some of the blankets will also go to Iowa! They will be donated to the Fort Dodge Police Department to hand out in emergency situations to children in need. Kudos to a job well done!
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Mission Southside here.
Blanket Recipient: Wayside Waifs
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Ali Stoker
I am so proud of our KindCraft teens, especially Ali Stoker. She stepped up to be a Project Coordinator for our no sew fleece blanket project. Ali has participated in this event for many years now, so it was really exciting to see her step into a leadership role!
She recruited a bunch of friends and they made 22 blankets for Wayside Waifs. . They found the CUTEST animal prints for their fleece. Love this group of girls-so many of them have been coming to KindCraft since we began in 2016. Please continue to lead, serve, and share your hearts with the world ladies!!
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with Wayside Waifs here.
Blanket Recipient: The Salvation Army
KindCraft Project Coordinator: DaNae Estabine
Another teen leader who truly impressed us, is Danae Estabine. She volunteered to be a Project Coordinator for our 6th annual no sew fleece blanket event. With help from the Olathe East Future Business Leaders of America (OEFBLA), her group not only made 9 blankets, but they also collected items for hygiene kits to be passed out to those in need. Originally, her plan was to donate these items to the Thanksgiving KC Feed the Homeless project, but unfortunately, it was cancelled (the first time to be cancelled in over 15 years).
So the group decided to donate the blankets and half the hygiene kits to the Salvation Army. They have a warehouse downtown behind the church where they hand out hygiene, warmth and food items to community members in need. The Salvation Army was very excited to see the blankets come in. She said the blankets were very nice and really needed. She was also grateful for the hygiene items. Apparently just that morning, they had received a lot of requests for warm items such as socks, gloves, hats, blankets.
Thank you to the OE FBLA for their involvement in the project and thank you Danae for leading the troops!
Check out the ways your family can get involved in volunteering with The Salvation Army here.
Blanket Recipient: Shelter KC: Women's Center
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Jennifer Wonderly
Jennifer Wonderly was the Project Coordinator for several families from Prairie Village. They donated these 17 handmade with love blankets to Shelter KC Women's Center on December 23rd.
Shelter KC: Women's Center
As clients enter our Women’s Center, they experience what it feels like to be treated with dignity for perhaps the first time, as well as the encouragement to embrace a crown of beauty and the full, vibrant life God intended for them.
Opened in 2013, our Women’s Center is a 20-bed residential recovery facility for single, homeless women located near downtown Kansas City. But for our clients, it’s simply “home.”
Directed by licensed, clinical counselors, case managers and clergy, the Women’s Center makes growth, healing and recovery a top priority. Together, by the grace and power of God, we can accomplish more than any of us could do alone.
As a Christ-centered community for women seeking specialized care, we’re here to see women come out of poverty into potential, interdependence and self-reliance through transformative faith, healing and wholeness.
Please check out their website for opportunities to support this organization. https://www.shelterkc.org
Blanket Recipient: Children's Mercy Hospital
KindCraft Project Coordinator: Courtney Smith
President and Co-founder of KindCraft, Courtney Smith, also led a group in making 30 blankets for Children's Mercy. This seemed only natural given that the hospital was the first recipient of our blankets six years ago. Participants in this group consisted of families that have participated annually in this event from the beginning as well as new friends joining us for the very first time in making blankets.
We have several Project Coordinators still busy collecting and preparing for blanket drop offs. Project Coordinators Ashley Vardijan, Hilary Kelso, and Stefanie Benson-Hebberd will be donating blankets to Synergy, Wayside Waifs, and Safehome in the next few weeks. Here is a picture of the 125 blankets Ashley's group has collected so far!!
THANK YOU so very much to all of the Project Coordinators who helped make this event possible during Covid. We are blown away by the number of participants year and this would not have been possible without you! We don't have an exact count but we are currently just shy of 800 donated blankets!! Truly unbelievable! Thank you KindCrafters.