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A warm donation: Girls make emergency blankets

Members of a Brooklyn Park-based American Heritage Girls troop, which includes Cottage Grove youths, donated 50 fleece blankets to the Cottage Grove Police Department. The blankets will be given to children in emergencies. (Submitted photo)

Children rescued in a house fire, pulled from a violent home or injured in a crash may be blanketed in warmth after those traumatic incidents, thanks to a group of girls.

Members of an American Heritage Girls troops recently made 50 fleece blankets and donated them to the Cottage Grove Police Department. The blankets will be distributed among police squads and ambulances, to be given to children involved in any variety of emergencies.

“What a nice thing to give them if they’re scared,” said Gail Griffith, the police department’s community affairs officer.

The faith-based American Heritage Girls troop of 48 girls has been donating blankets to Twin Cities-area law enforcement agencies for nine years. Cottage Grove resident Leilani Holmstadt, a troop leader whose three daughters are in the program, said emergency situations such as a fire or a domestic problem are frightening for children.

“So the blanket can give them comfort and warmth,” she said.

The girls cut and tied the “no-sew” fleece blankets at a recent meeting, and the troop prayed over the blankets before donating them to Cottage Grove police, Holmstadt said.

The Cottage Grove Lions Club donated $150 toward the $500 project. The rest of the cost was picked up by the girls’ families.

Griffith said the blankets are appreciated. Sometimes people want to donate stuffed animals so police can give them to children, but the department only can accept new stuffed animals. Other donations meant for children in emergencies are rare.

There are more donated blankets than squads and ambulances, so the vehicles will be replenished as needed.

“We want it to be a blessing,” Holmstadt said. “We don’t want them to be sitting on a shelf.”

Sgt. Gwen Martin picked up the blankets during the girls’ recent meeting in Brooklyn Park, and talked to them about her job as a police officer.

“It’s good for the girls to see different career options,” Holmstadt said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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