For Immediate Release
June 9, 2023
Contact: Pat LaMarche
#MemorialBlanket Returns to Central PA
Magnificent Art Exhibition of Handmade Blankets Commemorating
Homeless Remembrance Night to Be On Display in Harrisburg
For the third consecutive year, Carlisle non-profit the Charles Bruce Foundation (CBF) will be spearheading the creation and display of handmade blankets to memorialize Homeless Remembrance Night. At the end of the exhibition, the quilts and afghans will be distributed to families, individuals, elders, infants, veterans – in other words – our neighbors in need.
Artisans from across the region and across the nation will create warm works of art for perfect strangers to receive on the longest night of the year. “The night we don’t just think of those who live on the street but those who die on the street as well. This is my third year as one of the primary organizers of the event, and I’m honored to be involved. We took our message of love and beauty to the most powerful building on earth last year (U.S. Capitol). This year I’m delighted to be bringing the message home.” Matthew Best, Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church on Allison Hill in Harrisburg, has been with the project since the beginning.
CBF is delighted to once again be partnering with the Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Luther Church of America. Marsha Roscoe, Christian Churches United Compassion Action Network secretary as well as Lower Susquehanna Synod Director for Communication and Mission Interpretation, explains “Housing is a fundamental right, and yet homelessness persists for tens of thousands of people in Pennsylvania. Government policies and practices do not adequately account for or respond to the needs of those experiencing homelessness. We are committed to gathering again to hear the cries of the homeless and to work for justice.”
The #memorialblanket has a long list of partnerships built over the years of creating awareness about homelessness. Interested organizations as well as individuals are invited to reach out through the website memorialblanket.org or by emailing the project directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
One such partner, Diane Nilan – national homeless advocate and founder of Hear Us a non-profit lending voice and visibility to families and youth in homelessness is excited to part of the project again, “Our country has ignored the needs of millions of children and youth experiencing homelessness. More than 80% of students identified as homeless aren’t homeless enough for their families to receive assistance gaining the necessities that make life and learning possible – despite their dire situations. With this year’s blanket project we look forward to taking steps toward owning the problem and urging our Pa (and national) lawmakers to advocate for housing as a human right for all who have no home. It’s way past time for the public and law makers to understand the scope of homelessness in our nation.”
To that end, this year’s #memorialblanket will focus on the necessity to define homelessness accurately, “We can’t fix a problem we don’t adequately identify or understand.” Pat LaMarche, founder of the project explains, “Millions of people experiencing homelessness remain uncounted. Moms who take shelter in unsafe conditions just to give their kids a roof over their heads – are uncounted. Elders living in shabby motels, evicted when a big event happens, like a graduation or community event – are uncounted. A decade ago, when the federal government wanted to end chronic homelessness – they changed the definition – and ‘voila’ the numbers went down. The people of America don’t know these games are played with the definition to limit the scope of the problem. With #memorialblanket we won’t just create a beautiful and loving spectacle that comes apart to physically warm individuals. We’ll also plan to create a discussion. We hope folks intrigued by the problem – whether or not they can make a blanket – will join our effort and learn the extent to which their neighbors are suffering.”
The first of many public events is this June 24 at Summer Fair on the Dickinson Campus in Carlisle. Knitters and crocheters will come together at the CBF booth to create a blanket in a day for a person experiencing homelessness.
A spare change vote will take place at Summer Fair – passersby can donate their spare change to one of two jars. One jar represents the current insufficient definition of homelessness, the other will represent an accurate definition. It will be CBF’s informal way to see – literally – which definition the community thinks requires financial support. We hope to turn our community’s spare change into real change!
The booth will also feature Carlisle’s largest paint by number – bringing more joy and art to the community. Participation in the paint by number is free!