When Becky Laney’s dad Ray was residing in an inpatient
hospice facility, one of the things he enjoyed was being
wheeled through the peaceful hospice grounds.
“Watching the squirrels and birds made him smile,” said
Becky. “And it was an activity we could do together.”
One brisk October afternoon, Becky purchased a blue
fleece blanket to keep her dad’s legs warm on their trips
outdoors. That blanket soon got a lot of use inside too.
Becky’s mom wrapped up in it as she sat by Ray’s bed
and held his hand. Ray napped with it. He was lying with
the blanket when he died. That evening, Becky brought
the blanket home with her and laid it on the chair next
to her bed.
“I was deep in grief and reached for the blanket. It
smelled like my dad and it comforted me,” said Becky.
The blanket helped her through the grieving process
in the following days and months. It comforted her
children too. When they were sick, they would ask for
That experience eventually gave Becky an idea to form
a “Blanket Brigade” as a way to give back to hospice.
Now in its tenth year, the Blanket Brigade purchases No
Sew Fleece Blanket Kits with grant money maximized
by other discounts and coupons. Volunteers of all ages
make the blankets but the focus is on school-aged
children to help further educate on hospice services and
giving back to the community.
“When working with young volunteers, I always tell the
story of my dad and how the Blanket Brigade began,”
said Becky. “Then I explain
inpatient and outpatient
hospice in ways they can
So far, the Blanket Brigade has made
and donated 3,054 fleece blankets to
Berrien County hospice patients. Some
of the previous volunteers have grown to be adults and
expressed interest in starting their own Blanket Brigade
at their college or university.
“We are proud of what we do,” said Becky. “Not only
does the patient benefit, but the family is also gifted the
blanket after the patient dies, allowing them to use it
through the grieving process.”
The goal of the Blanket Brigade is to provide every
hospice patient in Berrien County with a blanket. With
an inspiring mission and an extraordinary amount of
volunteers to help, they won’t be stopping anytime soon.
For more information on the Berrien County
Blanket Brigade, visit facebook.com/BerrienCountyBlanketBrigade
Have time or talent to spare?
Volunteer with Caring Circle
Support your community and make a difference. Caring Circle is seeking compassionate people to volunteer
and help make a difference in the lives of clients and their families. No medical knowledge is required, and all
necessary training will be provided by Caring Circle.
Volunteer opportunities range from advance care planning conversation facilitators, friendly visits, pet therapy,
meal preparation, and many other roles that match your interests and talents.
For more information on Caring Circle’s volunteer program call 269.429.7100 or visit caring-circle.org/volunteer