It’s time for a Raffle to go with this update

Time is flying. I was in disbelief when I looked at the calendar this morning. I’ve been watching the leaves change and fall here in Portland, but realizing it’s mid-November was shocking. Your squares have been coming in regularly and keeping the seamers working. At one point, the Michigan Chapter had over 200 blankets seamed and ready to go. That is a Love-Squared record!!!

Thanks to everyone’s efforts, We were able to take forty blankets to the jackson Interfaith Shelter in Jackson, Michigan. While they don’t have forty kids in the shelter at the moment, the blankets will be needed as families seek shelter from the falling temperatures. We are also scrambling to be sure we have enough blankets ready to go for the 65 kids at Family House.

Those of you who have been followers for a while, or follow our facebook page, know how much we love 1Matters and their annual Tent City event, held in October. I say it often, if you are in the Toledo, Ohio/Michigan area, I highly recommend signing up for a volunteer spot. A couple hours of your time means so much to those in need of help and to those who are in charge of the event. You can visit HERE to see photos of volunteers in action. This was our second year setting up and handing out blankets. Last year we took 100 blankets, and Christie raced to complete one more so no child was left out. This year, Christie, Kathy, and Pat took 106 blankets, and gave out 100. Take a quick peak at the photos above. LOOK AT THOSE SMILES!!!! These kids are why we do what we do and why each of your squares are so important.

As I hinted in the title, it is time for a raffle. For squares postmarked November 1st – January 31st, we will be issuing virtual raffle tickets. ONE ticket for every FIVE squares you send in. We will be keeping a running tally. On February 5th, I will be entering all of the tickets into a random number generator to choose the winner. You will have a chance to win a project bag full of stuff, including a book of patterns, various yarns and notions. I will be posting photos as we make the selections. Christie and I are having fun shopping for just the right items. I have to tell you, I have squished some amazing hanks and skeins. I know my fiber wish-list has been growing with each trip to the LYS.

As always, keep the squares coming. We love each and every one of them. Until the next post,

Leah

 

My morning meet-up

click for babies

More often than not, I interact with you all via facebook or email. Rarely do I get the chance to meet you and thank you in person. Today was one of the rare days. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mary, at the Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon for the Purple Hats Kick-Off. Not only did I get to meet someone I have been emailing back and forth with since February, I got to learn about one of her other projects. As well as knitting squares for us, Mary knits Period of Purple Crying Caps for Click for Babies.

 

These purple hats bring awareness to those times of an infant’s increased crying, often mis-termed as colic. Not only is this period of time normal, it is also a time when babies are at the highest risk for shaken baby syndrome. I learned more than I could possibly pass on to all of you. I recommend you check it out, learn a bit, and knit or crochet a few hats.

purple-acro_medium copy

How are we doing so far? I’m so glad you asked.

completed sample

If you have been following us on facebook, you will already know some of this information. If not, prepare to be amazed! Earlier this month, the midwest chapter held a sorting party. I was pretty envious of everyone who was able to Julia sorting a blanket at the sorting partyattso many squares to sortend. This is the first sort I have missed. If you ever have the chance to attend, you really should. Not only is it a lot of fun, it gives you an idea of how much work goes into each of these blankets. The sorting party was a giant success. When all was said and done, they had counted 101 blankets, which in total is 3,030 of your squares!!! were sorted and ready to be seamed.The pile of sorted squares is growing, There are also 70 blankets seamed and ready for their kids. SPECTACULAR!!!! (I really like exclamations points when it comes to squares).

I am still blown away by their tally from the sort and sat down to do my own counting. We are two months into the EVERY STATE CHALLENGE and I could not be happier with our progress. So far we have brought in 1,609 squares from 21 states!!! Holy cow! That is a lot of squares in such a short amount of time. We still have FOUR MONTHS TO GO!!!!!! (Yup, more exclamation points). If you haven’t checked it out yet, look at our map. You can find it here. Mousing over the numbers or the yarn balls will show you photos of squares and where they came from.

As usual, you all amaze me. I think we are going to need to get our postal carriers a few gifts through out the year. They have been busy delivering all of your packages. Keep them coming!!! sorting party progress

Holy Smokes!

I just wanted to pop in and say WHOA! In the few weeks since the announcement of the EVERY STATE CHALLENGE, we have gained almost 100 new likes on our facebook page, several emails, ravelry forum posts, and website comments/questions. This is a remarkable accomplishment. In my opinion, this challenge is a success already.

The SE Michigan/NW Ohio group is hosting a sorting party at the American Legion in Saline, MI, on March 6th. I will post details this weekend. I can tell you there are at least 15 large plastic bins of squares needing to be sorted. I am excited to find out how many blankets we have waiting to be made.

The Portland, Oregon chapter of Love-Squared is off to a great start. So far, I have received over 200 squares. Word is spreading and I expect there will be more coming this way soon. I am looking into family shelters as well as other donation locations in thePortland, Oregon area. I am open to suggestions.

Leah

Color Choices are not limited to the bright and cheery.

I have been undecided whether to share this. There is always the concern that if we post a need for a certain color, that is all we will receive. Since it has been asked several times recently, I will write about it. We really do use white and black squares. While we would never make a solid white blanket, we do use whites to offset some of the crazy, should never work together, squares. Many times, black helps calm super bright blankets while making other colors pop.

White, black, and gray are the least donated colors, but often times the most needed. I am not saying only send us these colors. Please keep the solids, stripes, and fun squares coming. We love them and need them. But, if you run across a great deal on whites, black, or gray, don’t hesitate, we do use them all.

Thank you all for your continued support. The show of interest and love from everyone has been wonderful. Remember, keep the squares coming and spread the word. We will conquer the EVERY STATE CHALLENGE.

I’ve been thinking again.

USA map

It has been busy for Love-Squared since Tent City. Squares have been arriving steadily. This week, between Christie, Kathy, and myself, we have been fielding questions and comments from long-time followers and people just hearing about us. Most of the traffic has been coming through our facebook page, but not all of it. To those of you out there spreading the word, a huge heartfelt “THANK YOU.”

Anyway, before I let myself get more distracted, the huge upswing in interaction has me thinking. Usually, when I begin thinking, it leads to a new challenge. Our last challenge was a smashing success. I really had my doubts that we would actually collect enough squares to make 100 blankets. Again, you all proved me wrong. This challenge is going to be a bit different. Instead of challenging you with a number, I challenge you by location. Intrigued?

How many of the 50 states can we collect squares from? This may be the most difficult challenge yet. It is going to heavily rely on word of mouth. I believe our first 1,000 challenge brought squares in from 26 states and several countries. This time, can we collect from all 50 states? I honestly don’t know, but I can’t wait to see you all try.

IMG_2293Now it’s time for all of you to get busy keeping the three of us busy. Start knitting and crocheting, send some emails, or better yet, reach out and call someone you haven’t spoke to in a while.  From Today through July 31, 2016 we will be keeping track of and posting locations.

Leah

Tent City 2015

1932346_10153593476466830_1331074805043441343_n

If you follow me on facebook, personally or through Love-Squared, you have probably heard me talk about 1Matters and Tent IMG_2279City. My first Tent City experience was October, 2011.  My husband, eldest son, and I signed up to serve dinner to the un-housed and in-need people of Toledo, OH. What we actually did was meet over 1,000 new and interesting people, listen to their stories, and we got back as much friendship and respect as we gave. The experience was eye-opening, and for me, life-changing. I had started Love-Squared four months before, but after volunteering I threw myself into making sure Love-Squared succeeded.

IMG_2293 Today, Kathy, Christie, and I went to Tent City 2015 on behalf of Love-Squared. Thanks to a successful 3,000 square challenge that ran from November, 2014 – May, 2015, we were able to make 100 blankets to take with us along with a few to work on. I honestly thought we had taken too many and would end up leaving with at least half of them. I have mixed feelings about being wrong. On one hand, I am so proud of all of the work and dedication from the Love-Squared volunteers. We set a high goal and we reached it. On the other hand, I am sad to know we took 100 blankets and probably could have used a few more. There were that many kids.  At theIMG_2295 end, we had one blanket left when 2 children walked up. Our wonderful Kathy had just finished seaming a blanket and Super-Crocheter Christie raced to get the border finished so that one child wasn’t left out. That made 101 blankets given out today. I AM SO PROUD OF OUR TEAM!!!

This post is getting away from me. I always feel a bit overwhelmed, emotional, and reflective after a day like today. I wish you all could have been there to see the faces of the children and their parents at our table today. The very first kids who came over to choose their blanket were so happy they wrapped themselves IMG_2282up and grinned. We had such an amazing and fulfilling day. There were so many smiles and giggles as each child chose a blanket they really loved. You all made that happen. You should all feel happy and full of the joy your squares have brought these kids. I watched babies snuggle into the softness and children, the majority under seven years old, happily fold their blankets to put into bags. It was great to see the kids walking around Tent City with their Love-Squared blankets.  The smiles from their parents were just as big and bright. I teared up quite a few times just from pure joy.

As always, I close with a challenge and it’s a big one. My challenge to you all is to keep IMG_2273enough squares coming in that we are able to continue our donations to Family House and Jackson Interfaith Shelter, as well as 100 blankets for the annual Tent City.

It’s a tall order, but I am confident we can do it.

Leah

 

Photos coming, I promise!

WE DID IT!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!

Tomorrow marks the final day of our 3,000 goal challenge. As of this morning we received the squares that put us over the 3,000. In fact, we have 3,022 squares, with more on the way in the mail.

Currently, I am driving from Portland, OR to Michigan for a long visit. As soon as I get there I will post photos. I was just too excited not to share the news.

You all are so amazing! I can’t even begin to thank you.

Calling All Community Action Organizations

10356164_10152631970826830_674928777775198955_n

I admit it. I am horrible at writing blog posts.  I find it much quicker to post photos and quick updates to the facebook page while I’m on the go. I am making more of an effort to keep posts here coming regularly. If you haven’t seen a new post in a while, bug me about it. Keep me on my toes.

This particular blog post was inspired by my eldest son. He emailed me from school yesterday asking if he could use Love-Squared for his community action project. He and a group of students need to find a lesser-known non-profit or charity to research. Then they have to come up with a way to advertise, raise awareness and support for their chosen organization. I don’t have all of the details yet, but it sounds like an excellent unit for these junior high kids. I remember loving a project like this in my high school sociology class. Thank you, Mr. DiPaolo.

At first I was going to tell him no. Then I thought, well, why not Love-Squared? We do not have the federal non-profit status as of yet, another detail that keeps getting put on the back burner, but we are a charity organization that focuses on our communities. Sounds like a good candidate for his project and for others out there.  How many other schools and youth programs do community service projects? I’m guessing there are more than I can count.

Now I put the idea out there for you. Those of you who are teachers, community leaders, scout leaders, youth group leaders, church members, etc., think about getting the kids involved. Teach a group to knit or crochet, create a square collection drop-off box in your community, help put the blankets together, or do a yarn drive. We are always needing yarn to turn these squares into blankets, or to hand out to donors who would be unable to contribute without donated yarn. There are so many ways to help Love-Squared. We truly rely on word of mouth and the generosity of the community to keep us going.

I am excited to hear about the way you are going to get the youth, or your circle of people, involved. I am here to answer questions or listen to ideas. Email me at leah@love-squared.org or comment on the page of www.facebook.com/lovesquared2

 

Squares total update!!!!

Flowers brighten Family House

Hello to all.

I hope all of the holiday celebrations were wonderful. First I want to say Love-Squared is going strong. I received a message recently from someone who had been told we had stopped accepting squares and were no longer in business. That is not the case. We are still working hard in the midwest and gaining ground in Oregon. KEEP THE SQUARES COMING and keep spreading the word. We cannot make this happen without all of you.

Squares can be sent to:

LOVE-SQUARED               C. Clark                                      Leah Casarez/Love-Squared
217 Nichols Dr.                   6750 Sterns Rd.                        4450 NE Prescott St.
Saline, MI 48176                Ottawa Lake, MI 49267         Portland, OR 97218
 

Now to the super exciting news. Donations have been steadily coming in. Since November 1, 2014, Love-Squared has received

636 SQUARES!  Many completed blankets and a large amount of yarn!

They have come from all over the United States and as far away as Puerto Rico! That blows me away. We still have four months to go to reach the goal of 3,000. With this momentum I believe we can do it! KEEP THEM COMING!  Photos can be seen at www.facebook.com/lovesquared2

familydonateAs always, Kathy and Christie, along with their seaming elves, have been busy and accomplishing the near impossible. I have posted this on the facebook page, but their hard work made it possible to donate a blanket for every child at a JXNinterfaithshelterfamily shelter in Jackson, MI and nearly all of the children at Family House. I am still beyond words for that accomplishment. It has always been my goal to take on more shelters, and be able to provide blankets for every single child living in them. Both of these goals became a reality at the end of 2014.

As always I must leave you with a huge heartfelt THANK YOU! Love-squared could not do what it is doing without all of you!