Wareham Middle School students make blankets, warm up to lessons on kindness

Jun 19, 2018

Wareham Middle School students recently made a warm gesture toward local veterans and learned about a serious topic, one blanket at a time.

Using materials donated by Annie’s Kindness Blankets, a pay-it-forward campaign launchd by three Abington sisters, students made blankets for veterans in Wareham’s Kendrick House and Tobey Hospital patients.

“This project is two-fold,” said middle school teacher Toni Thatcher. “The blankets let the veterans know someone is thinking about them and students learn that when it comes to mental health issues, it’s OK to ask for help.”

Annie’s Kindness Blankets was founded by Anne Marie Varney’s daughters in 2015 soon after Varney took her own life. Since then, the group has donated more than 2,500 blankets to hospitals, other organizations and individuals.

"She was a beautiful person inside and out," according to the group's website. "If you needed a hug, she would hug you and not let go. Our goal is to help those that need one extra hug during their darkest times."

Thatcher said the sisters are also dedicated to letting people know help is out there. And it's one of the reasons she reached out to participate in the kindness campaign.

“The blankets symbolize giving hugs when they are needed,” said Thatcher. “Annie’s group wants to make sure no one feels alone.”

By making the blankets, students not only brightened someone’s day, but were introduced to the topic of mental health and that asking for help when needed is encouraged.

“We want our students to know that they have a place they can talk if they are having these problems,” said Thatcher. “Depression is real and they are not alone.”

Students put the blankets together themselves and delivered them recently to veterans at the Kendrick House.

Melody Cortez, an eighth grader, said the project was definitely worthwhile.

“It feels good to do something that will make someone happy,” she said.