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Tent City 2015

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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

 

Just keep Sorting, Sorting, Sorting and Then Seaming, Seaming, Seaming

Making more squares on the spot

Hello to all of you and HAPPY FRIDAY!

The latest donation was dropped off at Family House two weeks ago. There were a total of 22 afghans which turned out to be a great number. Not only does that mean you all have made and donated 660 squares, it was also the number of families currently residing at Family House. We were able to provide a bit of love and comfort to each family. While that is wonderful I am also working over time to get twelve more blankets done and to Family House as quickly as I can. There are 34 children, including two tiny newborns, living at Family House. I know we can make sure every child has their own blanket. In order to get twelve more blankets finished there was a lot of sorting needing to be done.

 

My earlier estimation of 600 squares waiting to be sorted was close. We actually had almost 800! Amazing work everyone!! I decided there wasn’t a better time to sort squares than when my husband was out of town. If any of you have seen the facebook page you already know what sorting looks like. My house may not be large, but the great amount of squares took up two rooms of my house. My four children jumped in and started separating the squares by color. My daughter even organized squares into an afghan. I will have to remember her skills in the future. She has an eye for these things. I spent two days fitting squares together for afghans. When my husband came home it still looked like a yarn store had exploded in my living room and dining room. Many photos were taken and posted to facebook for feedback. I had several people helping choose square combinations via internet. Then, the lovely Christie came to visit with coffee. She and I were able to knock out the rest of the squares in five hours. I will forever owe her caramel lattes from Chandler Cafe. Oliver thought the coffee was quite delicious. Enough so he poured her latte into a cup and drank it himself. Sorry, Christie! Christie saved the morning with coffee, but she also saved my sanity and a few afghans. After several days of staring at squares the colors and patterns were starting to blur. She put together a group of squares I would have never thought would work in an afghan. It took a while, and Christie sitting down to crochet a couple more squares to make it work, but in the end it was one of the more fun afghans. In all, Christie crocheted five squares that day to make sure an afghan was finished and looking it’s best. Thank you for that. That means two more blankets are ready to be made instead of going back into the pile to wait for the next sorting. At the end of the day we have 23 blankets needing to be seemed and a box of about 150 squares in reserve needing other squares to make them great.

Boxing them up

Today, I will be meeting a woman who found us via facebook. She is so excited to get involved with Love-Squared. In her words she is “crocheting squares like mad.” As a big bonus she also wants to learn how to seam them together. I am so grateful for people who want to help seam the squares. More hands make a huge job so much quicker.

I cannot thank any of you enough for the time you spend making squares, seaming, and spreading the word of LOVE-SQUARED. There are over 70 children with our blankets now and very soon another 23 will be donated. Please keep the squares coming! These blankets mean so much to the children who receive them.

Leah

Congratulations to all of you.

Renee from Family House

Love-Squared is officially in it’s 6th month of existence. Donating the first 14 afghans to Family House of Toledo, is by far the best way to celebrate. Check out the photos of Renee, Family House Director, and me with your beautiful afghans. I couldn’t help but smile looking at all the afghans draped over tables. The blankets are so happy, beautiful and begging to be snuggled with. It warms my heart knowing all of your hard work is going to be well loved and treasured for years to come. Congratulations to all of you who have helped make our first six months so perfect.

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