Welcome Blankets Arrive Just in Time for Thanksgiving | The Center for Victims of Torture

Welcome Blankets Arrive Just in Time for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It’s getting cold outside. For CVT’s torture survivor clients in the U.S., the decrease in temperatures can present a host of new challenges. Many are caught off guard. They don’t have access to winter clothing items or the funds to obtain them. Often they show up to therapy sessions without proper attire, like coats, hats or closed-toed shoes.

“The winter months are extremely difficult for newly arrived immigrants and refugees, since most of them come from warmer climates,” said Dr. Adaobi Iheduru, Psy.D., LP, CVT Atlanta psychotherapist and team lead. “Most of our clients spend their time indoors, worrying about braving the cold.”   

This prompted CVT Atlanta staff to launch an annual winter clothing drive. Since 2016, individuals and organizations across the Atlanta metro area donate clothes, shoes, gloves, hats and coats for CVT clients. This is the first year, however, that the organization received blankets - from volunteers nation-wide - thanks to a special exhibition at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) that preceded this year’s drive.

MODA’s Making Change: The Art of Craftivism explored the concept of using arts and craft projects to make a difference. Since the museum encourages patrons to not just observe but interact with the art, the exhibition allowed art-lovers to participate in one of three craftivism projects, like Welcome Blanket.

Led by Jayna Zweiman, co-founder of the Pussyhat project, which designed the original pink hats worn at Women’s March protests across the country in January 2017, Welcome Blanket encourages U.S. arts and crafts enthusiasts to knit handmade blankets for newly arrived immigrants and refugees. MODA in partnership with Welcome Blanket asked volunteers from across the country to do the same, and to send their creations in to the museum.  

Upon the project’s completion, MODA staff contacted CVT supporter Sandra Bedoya-Hanson, who conducted this year’s clothing drive, to donate some of the handmade blankets for CVT clients. Each blanket came with a handwritten welcome note from its creator. One of them reads, “Made for you with love and hope in every stitch.” 

“The handmade cards were an even more thoughtful touch,” said Client Services Coordinator Stephanie Swafford, who picked up the donated blankets from MODA last week. “The blankets are soft and cozy, just the right size for babies and children.”

Her colleague Dr. Iheduru was similarly blown away by the quality of the blankets. She noted how beautiful and well-made they were, and remains in awe of the dedication it must have taken for MODA volunteers to create each unique blanket and mail them in from across the country.

“This is a true display of welcome to immigrants and refugees,” she said. “’Made for you with love and hope in every stitch’ is truly moving and impactful, a message we need our clients to hear.”

Continue the kindness! Make a financial or in-kind donation to CVT.

By Sabrina Crews, marketing communications specialist


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