Avery’s Blanket Drive: How a Birthday Sleepover Turned into a Life-changing Mission

Four years ago, when Avery was planning her 8th birthday party, she decided that she was going to ask for blankets instead of gifts from her friends. She told her parents that she didn’t want anyone to be cold. Her dad challenged her to “think bigger” which sparked the conversation around hosting a large-scale blanket drive through her school and church.

Avery’s passion for helping others led her to partner with her parish – Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Mead – and spread the word about her blanket drive. Her priest invited her to speak at Mass and to encourage their parishioners to donate. Avery’s enthusiasm was contagious and soon many others were involved.

She encouraged the church to focus their giving week, “Mead Angels Giving Weekend” to support the efforts of Catholic Charities. The response was overwhelming, and donations of blankets started pouring in. Avery and her parents worked to sort and distribute the blankets.

In the past four years, Avery has collected over 700 blankets which have been distributed to various locations of Catholic Charities. Her focus is on the Samaritan House in Denver and the Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley. Director of Volunteer & Community Engagement, Mark Hahn, who directly worked with Avery said, “Avery’s blanket drive has made a tremendous difference to many in Northern Colorado. Her compassion and dedication to serve others is awe-inspiring, and the gift of warmth and comfort she has provided is a beautiful expression of God’s love. We are so humbled to be recipients of Avery’s care and kindness through the blankets she has collected.”

Following her father’s suggestion to “think bigger,” she has raised her initial goal of collecting a few blankets from her friends to 5,000 blankets from the community in the coming years! Avery doesn’t find the goal daunting because she is determined and is gratified by how the community has stepped up to help.

Avery’s efforts remind all of us that even a small act of kindness can grow to make a significant impact on our neighbors who need a hand up.