Multimedia Journalist

Trinity Lutheran 5th-graders craft wheelchair blankets on school service day

The fifth-grade students at Trinity Lutheran School in Jefferson City practiced teamwork and giving Wednesday during their all-school service day.

More than 300 fingers worked for 30 minutes to tie knots in handmade blankets for residents at local nursing homes.

Students participate in outreach projects annually, Principal Steve Gonzales said. While some students crafted decorations for the Trinity Lutheran Church’s fall dinner, scheduled Nov. 24, or volunteered at the Missouri River Regional Library and Samaritan Center — fifth-graders were excited to prepare the perfect lap blankets for people in wheelchairs.

Eight blankets will be donated next month to Heisinger Bluffs Retirement Home, St. Joseph’s Nursing Home or Fulton Nursing and Rehab, teacher Annie Ziegelbein said.

Three years ago, Ziegelbein and fellow teacher Sarah Johnson saw the need for blankets while the school led chapel at Heisinger Bluffs. The blankets are made to be the perfect length to stay out of the wheels of the wheelchair, she said.

The tops of the blankets are designed from extra Thrivent T-shirts the school receives for volunteer projects. The teachers, with additional donations from students, purchase the fleece backing.

Volunteer Winnie Shaw cuts and sews the squares together, Johnson said. Shaw is the grandmother of fifth-grader Drew Hardin, who worked diligently with his classmates to knot blankets.

Many students were excited to work on the project, saying the blankets’ recipients would appreciate them for warmth.

“This group has cheerful hearts,” Johnson said. “They’ve been looking forward to this project. … It’s truly their hands and hearts.”

After the blankets were formed, students repeated a prayer led by Johnson asking God that the blankets be used for good to “show someone else (God’s) love and the comfort that (He) gives.”

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