Comfort Care Blankets: Lincoln-Omaha, NE
In Fall 2016, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Group of Lincoln-Omaha, Nebraska, comprising four families, became involved in a “Comfort Care Blankets” service, where they made and distributed tie blankets to patients needing end-of-life care.
It all began when a Sai group member met with a local hospital chaplain, who was looking for volunteers to make Comfort Care blankets for terminally ill patients. The group members very enthusiastically embraced this novel service – they loved the simplicity of the task of making tie blankets, a task that could also easily involve their children. One of the members was also able to locate and share an instructional video on how to make a tie blanket.
In a spirit of love and dedication, eight adults and five children came together over two consecutive weekends, spending 3-4 hours per day, to make the tie blankets. While the adults worked on cutting the fleece material and making slits along the edges, the children excitedly tied the knots along the edges of the blankets. It was indeed gratifying to witness them take such joy and pride in their work. The first time the group undertook the project in 2016, the members were able to complete 27 comfort blankets, which were then donated to cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. The blanket service project has been carried out as often as needed, with the most recent being held in August 2021. The group has donated about 220 blankets to the hospital thus far.
The nursing staff conveyed how much the patients love the colors and designs on the blankets: “Everything is pretty dull in their lives but these blankets have added back some color and brought some cheer.” The Center also received a note of gratitude from one of the patients: “All of you are exposing your children to what a big heart means. Helping those going through a difficult time is a great service. You are teaching your children that even though there is human pain and suffering, they can be loving and caring people who can make a difference in our world. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, your family, and friends."
The group members are indeed grateful for the opportunity to conduct this service activity. A volunteer noted “Like any other service project, the blanket service project also gives me a deep sense of fulfillment, especially knowing that the blankets are for patients needing end-of-life care. From start to finish, whether it is choosing and cutting the fabric, or tying the knot, whenever I think about how that blanket will be used, I am filled with great compassion. I know I may never meet the receiver, yet I feel so much love for them! It is as if an invisible thread is tying us all together. Moreover, it reminds me that everything in life is transitory.”