For the second year, OSU Institute of Technology is taking part in Jennifer’s Share the Warmth Blanket Drive, coordinated by Volunteers of America-Oklahoma and named after KTUL Channel 8 meteorologist Jennifer Zeppelin.
Last year the campus collected about 250 blankets in just a matter of weeks, said one of OSUIT’s drive organizers Dr. Maria Christian, an instructor in the School of Arts & Sciences.
“To think there are people out there who don’t even have a blanket, or don’t have a blanket for their children, I just can’t imagine that,” Christian said.
This year the OSUIT campus is an official drop site for the drive with two collection boxes located in the Noble Center for Advancing Technology and the Student Union.
Students, faculty and staff have until Friday, Jan. 30 to bring in new or gently used blankets to the drop sites. All the blankets donated at OSUIT will be distributed to the Okmulgee County Homeless Shelter other nonprofit organizations in the Okmulgee area.
“What we are collecting from the Okmulgee community will stay in the Okmulgee community,” Christian said.
The goal is to meet or exceed last year’s collection of 250 blankets, quilts and comforters, said Glenda Orosco, another one of the drive’s organizers.
Christian said last year she was surprised by the number of blankets that were collected on campus in such a short amount of time, but Orosco wasn’t.
“I oversee the service learning project for CASA every year and the generosity of our students is amazing,” she said. “To see the response from last year, I wasn’t surprised. Our students are so generous.”
Donating a blanket is an easy way to make a big difference to someone in need, whether it’s picking up a new blanket while out shopping or cleaning out a linen closet.
Samantha Estes, development coordinator for Volunteers of America-Oklahoma, said last year emergency shelters reported record highs of people coming in, and weather forecasters are reporting record lows across the country.
“There are a lot of people out there who are cold and in need,” said Samantha Estes. “A former client of ours, who is now on our Board of Directors, said that a blanket doesn’t just make your day, it makes every day after that.”