kindness activist

kindness activist

Friday, February 19, 2016

Blanket Kindness

When you meet Jody and Gerard, you can tell they are COOL.  Like, super cool, neat people.  They are fun to talk with, smart, COOL!  Another thing they are is KIND. 
Gerard, Jody, and Baby Siobhan (baby #2 is now on the way!)
They have a tradition called a BLANKET PARTY.  Trying to imagine what that is?  Check it out:

“Every other year when we are in town for the winter holiday we host a BLANKET PARTY. We invite as many friends, family, and neighbors as we can to come over.  We ask them to bring a new blanket to the party.  We then collect all of the blankets and donate them to a homeless shelter.

Growing up my (Gerard's) parents hosted an annual blanket party. Originally they collected coats, but feedback they got from shelters was that coats only fit specific people, whereas anyone can use a blanket. The shelters also requested new blankets rather than hand me downs, not only for health/cleanliness reasons, but because people who are homeless like to have nice, new things too, not just hand me downs.  Also, when you think about it, threadbare old blankets just aren't as warm.

Teaching KINDNESS to their baby right from the get go

So, like I said, my parents started this tradition, but as they aged my wife and I started to take up the banner. We feel really good about hosting the blanket party. Instead of just being a party for the sake of a party, when you bring people together to do something for the benefit of others it has an entirely different vibe. Friends who are invited to the party but can't come often either send a blanket or donate one on their own.

We donate the blankets to a shelter (Community for Creative Nonviolence in DC).  The two people who accepted the donation at the shelter were of course friendly and a bit surprised by the volume of blankets.  I mean, maybe 34 blankets doesn't sound like a lot to you, but when you see them all together it is a significant cubic footage of blankets.  The women from the shelter are grateful, but there isn't any effusive thanks or anything, which is fine with me. We don't do it to evoke a sense of gratitude in others. The people who eventually get the blankets have no idea where they came from. 

A car full of NEW BLANKETS to donate!  I don't know, 34 blankets DOES sound like a lot to me!

We do it because I just think people should be warm if possible. Growing up, blankets (or "coeys" as we called them at my house) were a real source of comfort and relaxation. Everybody should have that.
We are going to keep hosting a Blanket Party every other year. We want our daughters to grow up seeing this and keep it going!  I would also love to inspire others to host their own blanket parties in other parts of the country. Without firsthand experience it's hard to catalyze people to get momentum.”
Gerard and Jody, I hope that reading your story about the BLANKET PARTIES inspires some other people to throw their own!  Let’s do it – BLANKET PARTIES all across the world!  J  Like Gerard said, everyone deserves to be warm.  A “coey” for every person!!  Thanks for sharing about your kindness activism.  I really do think it is inspirational. 
If you know of a kindness activist – be their kindness large or small – tell me about them.  Send me an email at:

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