The Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is again seeking donations to make sure those in need are not cold this winter.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau is teaming up with the Hampton Inn again for their annual blanket drive, which benefits local outreach programs in the Jacksonville area.
Brittany Henry with the Convention and Visitors Bureau says that the program has been supported well in years past.
“We are collecting through the end of November. It takes us a couple of days to sort through them because we usually get a couple hundred blankets, and then we will get them delivered about the frist week in December.
Blankets will be delivered to the Salvation Army, the New Directions Warming and Cooling Shelter, and the Women’s Crisis Center. We will take cash donations as well, and we ask that people donate either new or they could do a homemade blanket.
New or homemade blankets can be dropped off now through the end of November to the Hampton Inn on West Morton Avenue, or the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau office located at 310 East State Street.
Henry said that cash donations are also accepted, and some area residents have enjoyed making blankets in their spare time during the year.
“Since we have been collecting blankets over the past couple of years, we have had a couple people that look forward to making handmade blankets. They crochet blankets and like to deliver those, and last year, Cedarhurst Assisted Living donated some beautiful knotted blankets we were able to donate as well. And then with the monetary donations, we will go in a purchase blankets to fulfill those that we did not receive.
Last year, the New Directions Warming and Cooling Center said they could really use more twin sized blankets because that is the type of bed that they have in their facility, so we were able to use the monetary donations to purchase some of those. And for the Crisis Center, they had some children there and also some clients who were ready for placement and leaving the center, so we were able to help with bedding for those needs as well.”
Henry said that the effort started out as a hat, scarf and glove drive, but that those needs were being fulfilled by other groups, and that the idea for changing to a blanket drive, came out of necessity from the Hampton Inn.
“This is the fourth year we have partnered with Hampton Inn, and when we started this, Michelle Foreman, the General Manager, was actually getting ready to get new bedding for the hotel, and she had said, hey I have seen blanket drives in other communities, what would you think about switching ours to a blanket drive this year.
We had an Illinois College student who was doing an internship with us at the time, and they were doing some research on blanket drives at the time, and through the research we realized there was a need for blankets in our community.”
Henry said that as long as donations continue to come in, and area organizations continue to report a need for the blankets, then the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Hampton Inn will continue the drive each year.
The Hampton Inn can accept donations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau office is open to accept donations Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.