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With fleece of all different patterns and designs all over her dining room, Trudy Downes is busier than she’s ever been.
At 71, Downes, of west Boca Raton, wanted to get involved with something, and when she saw an organization on Facebook in which a Pittsburgh woman started making blankets for sick and dying dogs, Downes thought about what she could do locally that was similar, she said.
“We really care about pets and can use the volunteers and would like to see this grow. The more we make, [the more] we can send them, and fleece is so nice. You just throw it in the washer and dryer and it holds its shape. The pets love this material. It’s soft and they like them,” Downes said.
Elizabeth Accomando, the founder and director of Barky Pines, said she was “very happy” and thought it was “wonderful” when Downes first contacted her about donating blankets as well as knotted toys to her organization.
“I think it’s very nice to have something to send the pets home with that’s new. It’s just nice the volunteers donated their time to do it,” she said.
All adopted pets take home a fleece blanket, which JoAnn Goodrich, president and founder of Destiny for Dogs, said “provides comfort and a sense of belonging to these precious and deserving angels that come to Destiny for Dogs with nothing of their own.”
“Trudy and her angel volunteers do so much for the rescue babies by making the Blessing Blankets. These blankets provide comfort for the animals who have been abused, neglected or have lost their owner, home and everything that they have known,” she said.
One of the volunteer groups helping Downes is YourLife of Coconut Creek, a memory care facility. About 10 to 15 residents help make the blankets weekly, said Holly Rosenberg, engagement director at YourLife Coconut Creek.
“They absolutely look forward to it. They love being able to give back to the community and anything [having to do] with animals…who amongst us doesn’t like to feel useful?” she said.
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Rosenberg first contacted Downes after she heard about her organization through word-of-mouth, and the residents have been making blankets for about four months, she said.
“We showed them some of the dogs and cats and they get excited about it. Anything to give back [to the community] is great,” Rosenberg said.
There are about 35 volunteers at Blessing Blankets made with Love including some students from Boca Raton schools such as Pine Crest and Spanish River High School who made hundreds of blankets, Downes said.
Blessing Blankets made with Love is always looking for more volunteers as well as donations, and Downes said she will teach people how to make the blankets.
“It makes my heart grow a bit, especially with the elderly and high school kids. It makes me feel good to do it, and it never gets boring. I’m constantly on the go with this and I get excited about new patterns at [JOANN Fabric and Crafts store],” she said.