Victoria Holmes, 13, of Corning, New York, an eighth-grader at The Alternative School for Math & Science, began making fleece blankets for families dealing with serious illness after remembering what it was like when her mother had to spend months in the hospital being treated for leukemia. During that time, Victoria and her siblings had to stay with relatives hundreds of miles away. “One night I was very upset,” she recalled. “I really missed mom.” Her aunt wrapped her up in a blanket to comfort her, and the memory of that night stayed with her. “The blanket represented the love of my family,” said Victoria. Years later, she decided she wanted to give others in similar situations the same kind of comfort by making blankets for them.
Last summer, Victoria performed chores and small jobs to raise money for her project. She also asked friends and family members for help. By the end of the summer, she had enough money to buy $500 worth of fleece. A generous donation and discounts from a fabric store enabled her to buy three times as much as she expected. She then appealed to her church congregation for donations, and asked friends to talk about her project on social media. A friend from school helped Victoria measure and cut material for her blankets, and contacts in two other states are also helping to produce them. The blankets’ star patterns are designed to remind the recipients that, even when they’re apart, both parent and child are looking at the same sky. Victoria’s intent is to provide two blankets per family, one for a child and one for the parents, so “they can snuggle the same blanket while they are apart,” she said.