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Volunteers blanket patients and families with comfort

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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 Grandpa’s blanket.

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 understand.”

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

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

For more information call
(269) 429-7100 or
(800) 717-3811

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