For Immediate Release
Monday, December 19, 2022
Scott McLarty, email@example.com
Pat LaMarche, Epicjourney10@gmail.com
1,000 handmade blankets arrive in Washington DC for the Homeless #MemorialBlanket Project display on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 21
• Blanket makers to Congress: We demand housing for people without homes
• People across the US with sewing, knitting, crocheting, and quilting skills are contributing blankets: Find a state at https://memorialblanket.org
• Facebook page with photographs and news about the project and participants: https://www.facebook.com/
WASHINGTON, DC — Hundreds of handmade blankets from across the US are arriving in Washington DC for public display on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 21, followed by distribution to families and individuals in dire need during the winter. The display has been organized by the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project.
“This Wednesday, a ragtag group of us will pull off a first-of-its-kind art display on the lawn of the US Capitol,” said Diane Nilan, founder and president of HEAR US Inc., which gives voice and visibility to children and youth experiencing homelessness. “We anticipate more than 1,000 submissions of handmade crocheted, knitted, and quilted blankets. All to call attention to homelessness, those who have died, and those enduring this hellish existence. I hope someone is paying attention.”
Blanket makers are traveling to DC from Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and neighboring Maryland and Virginia with their creations and an urgent message for Congress.
“Millions of Americans are suffering from preventable horrors. We must build housing, convert the abandoned businesses and properties that litter our nation — turn every empty lot into housing for those who need it. It’s a jobs builder and a suffering mitigator,” said Pat LaMarche, founder of the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project.
“I’m here with these handmade blankets to remind Congress what simple work it will be if we all work together. I’m here to remind the very same Congress that just handed the military $858 billion, so I know they’re okay with spending money when they think it’s the right thing to do. Affordable, adequate, and safe housing is the right thing to do,” said Ms. LaMarche.
Several churches are involved in the project. First United Church of Christ in Carlisle, Pennsylvania has stored blankets since early summer.
The Washington National Cathedral hosted a rehearsal display of nearly 100 blankets on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Photos and videos of the rehearsal can be seen and downloaded on the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/
Blanket makers can drop off their creations at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street NE in Washington DC. They can do so Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through Dec. 20. The church will store the blankets until the Dec. 21 event. (More: https://memorialblanket.org/?
Donated blankets will also be accepted in person at the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday.
The Homeless Memorial Blanket Project had aimed for at least 500 blankets (9000 square feet), contributed by participants in every state and territory, for the display with the goal of raising public awareness of people without adequate housing. More than double that number are now expected on Dec. 21.
The project has participants in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Volunteers in each state are being asked to make at least 100 blankets, providing ten for the Capitol Lawn display and donating another 90 or more to outreach programs in their area.
Typical blanket dimensions are 45″ x 80″ and 60″ x 80″ with a variety of fabrics, fibers, and colors.
The Homeless Memorial Blanket Project is hosted by the Charles Bruce Foundation (https://
charlesbrucefoundation.com), which is located in central Pennsylvania. The Dec. 21 display will be an arts installation by this nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Anyone interested in participating can sign up for their state at https://memorialblanket.org.
More statements from Homeless Memorial Blanket Project organizers and supporters
• Deacon Marsha Roscoe, Assistant to the Bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America:
“We are incredibly thankful for the hundreds of artisans from around the country who have worked tirelessly this holiday season. Their work represents more than blankets. Every blanket has a face — a human story — of someone currently experiencing homelessness. It is our hope that each blanket delivers warmth to others during some of the hardest days of their lives”
• Rev. Matthew Best, field organizer for Blanket Project:
“As the blankets keep coming in, the immensity of this project grows. You really see how people from across the country care. You see how people from all over have thrown themselves into this. You see how we are all woven together for this.
“On Wednesday when so many of us will gather in DC, these blankets will represent the voices of people from across this country all saying loudly to our elected officials and agencies, ‘We can do better.’ It starts by caring about people. Each blanket represents a story of the person who made it and it will tell a story of the person or family who receives it.”
• Pat LaMarche, author and founder the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project:
“I began my career as a journalist, often writing or reporting about poverty. My transition to homeless advocate happened when a Pennsylvania Minister read my first book on homelessness and offered me a job working at a shelter.
“Changing from professional observer to operations manager opened my eyes to the enormity of America’s housing shortage. Homelessness isn’t random or rare. The human suffering it causes is regular and routine. Every day, for the better part of a decade, I met folks on the worst day of their lives. And I knew it would be a long time before it got better. As Eva and Franco Mattes wrote, ‘Once a profound truth has been seen, it cannot be unseen. There’s no going back to the person you were.'”
“Carlisle Homeless Remembrance Blanket Project preparing for D.C. art installation”
ABC27 (WHTM in Pennsylvania), December 7, 2022
news/carlisle-west-shore/ carlisle-homeless-remembrance- blanket-project-preparing-for- d-c-art-installation/
“Homeless Memorial Blanket Project puts a spotlight on housing insecurity”
The AFRO (Washington DC), November 6, 2022
Homeless Memorial Blanket Project on Facebook (national group)
To find a state Facebook group, type Homeless Remembrance Blanket and the state’s name in Search
Nonprofit Seeks Artisans Across US to Help the Unhoused
Daily Kos, February 6, 2022
stories/2022/2/6/2078926/- Nonprofit-Seeks-Artisans- Across-US-to-Help-the-Unhoused
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