Group Home Kids Make Christmas Brighter for Others in Their Shoes

 This isn't your normal arts and crafts class.

"We have been making blankets for kids in foster care in Erie and Crawford Counties for over 5 years," says Cathy Hutchison of the Hermitage House in Cambridge Springs. Here, these group home kids are looking past their own needs to be adopted to brighten up the holidays for others in their shoes.

17-year-old Shyann Loiacono says "As I was younger, I got some of these blankets when I was in foster care and it meant a lot to me; I usually didn't get gifts for Christmas, so I got a blanket from my case worker and it felt really good."

12-year-old Devon Ellis added "It makes me feel really good because I know what it feels like to not be home for Christmas."

Most of this year's orders have come through the Office of Children and Youth Services and Family Services of Northwest Pennsylvania. The kids worked hard at making their masterpieces...72 of them.

"Kids just love making the blankets," Hutchison says. "We get a lot of volunteers; pretty much anytime I ask for volunteers, every child raises their hand."

When they got done, they packed them up with cards...ready to go out. But for all that went into making the blankets, it couldn't have happened without the help and support of the community.

"We've been really fortunate, the whole Edinboro community pitches in; the money we get for the blanket project has come from a number of places but mostly from recycling newspapers and phone books." Hutchison says.
The Edinboro Kiwanis also helps them out and recently WalMart donated $1,000 for supplies.

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