Scotch Plains resident Jennifer Conlin has made giving a way of life. The Chatham Day School assistant teacher works with children with special needs by day, and devotes her free time to a nonprofit she founded called Blanket Blessings, an organization that works with police officers in Plainfield and Elizabeth, NJ, to distribute donated blankets to individuals within the homeless community in those towns.
Now Blanket Blessings is harnessing the power of YouGiveGoods, an online relief drive site, to run a collection drive through March 31. To date, 77 blankets have been purchased to contribute to Jennifer’s drive and she is well on her way to doubling the number she collected by the end of her drive last year.
“For the past two years I have collected and personally handed out about 50 blankets, with the help of the police department, and this year I am hoping to double that through this online drive,” says Ms. Conlin. “I am happy to have YouGiveGoods help me with this endeavor and it is my hope that this drive will be able to reach new heights in 2013. I hope that many people will participate and help me in keeping those less fortune warm this winter. “
The drive, called "Keeping the Homeless Warm One Blanket at a Time,” can be reached by visiting http://www.yougivegoods.com/KeepingTheHomelessWarmOneBlanketAtATime
and clicking on the "Donate to This Drive" button and then selecting the number of blankets to be purchased in this drive. At the end of the drive, blankets purchased will be delivered to Blanket Blessings for distribution.
The name Blanket Blessings came from the words, “God bless you,” something that is often said by the recipients of these blankets. On one occasion, Ms. Conlin left a blanket under a bridge on top of a mattress, where it appeared that someone homeless was living. When she saw the location later, the blanket was joined by a pillow and the bed was neatly made and obviously appreciated.
“When you are living outside in 18 degree weather, a blanket makes all the difference,” she said. “My hope is to give them something clean and warm to provide some comfort.”
According to Patrick O’Neill, CEO of YouGiveGoods, “We just introduced our blanket drive service and Jennifer’s drive is the first one that is up and running. We are excited to expand the type of relief supplies donated through our online platform and to assist Jennifer in her important mission to help the homeless stay warm this winter.”
YouGiveGoods is based in Mendham, NJ and is operated by a group of people who strongly believe in the importance of helping others in need. The company’s website, YouGiveGoods.com, was developed to make it easier for people and organizations to set up and run in-kind charity drives, including food drives and animal shelter drives. The site provides free services to charities and makes it simpler for people to donate goods to the charities they want to support. The innovative technology platform is designed to inspire people to give and help others. Visit YouGiveGoods.com