Sharon Sullivan
Free Press Staff Writer

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February 5, 2008
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Comfort in a blanket: Hospice collects blankets for grieving kids

GRAND JUNCTION " Kids are given a homemade blanket the first night they arrive to Camp Good Grief " a two-day camp in Cedaredge held each August for children and teens who are grieving the death of a loved one.

For some of the kids, it's their first time away from home.

When all the kids get together and tell their stories Saturday night, they curl up with pillows and those blankets.

"The blankets are a huge source of comfort for these kids," said Cathy DiPaola, child and teen program director for Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.

Kids choose their own blankets, which are made by community volunteers. Last year, one woman made 25 blankets.

This year Hospice has enlisted the help of Hi Fashion Fabrics in its "Blanket Brigade" for help obtaining 72 blankets needed for the next Camp Good Grief.

The camp has space for 72 kids, in grades third through eighth, and is always full.

It's for kids who have experienced any loss; it doesn't have to be a parent, DiPaola said. "It can be any length of time ago."

As the kids grow, they still need to process the grief, she said.

"The cause of death doesn't matter."

Hi Fashion Fabrics is offering a 33-percent discount from Feb. 6 through May 31 for people who want to make blankets for the kids.

After telling the clerk at Hi Fashion you want to make a Hospice blanket, you are given a pattern for an easy "no-sew blanket." When the blanket is returned to Hi Fashion by May 31, along with their receipt for the fabric, they'll receive a 33-percent rebate.

The blanket program is in its 10th year. Partnering with Hi Fashion is a new idea.

"They were very, very enthusiastic about doing it," DiPaola said.

The kids are told that people they don't know made the blankets and are sending good wishes their way, DiPaola said.

"They carry them with them throughout the weekend," and take them home after the camp.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 5, 2008 08:04PM Published Feb 5, 2008 07:45PM Copyright 2008 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.