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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published December 12 2010

Warm blankets, warmer hearts

A group of Concordia College students spent a cold Saturday afternoon working on gifts to warm people’s hearts.

Students made more than 50 hand-tied fleece blankets they plan to distribute today to residents of local homeless shelters.

The project has become an annual tradition for Concordia sophomore Kate Gantz.

When she was in high school, Gantz received $100 from a speaker at a church event to do with as she pleased.

“Most people said that it was tradition to donate the money to the church, but I wanted to be different,” said Gantz, a music education major from Eagan, Minn.

So she used the money to buy fleece to make blankets, making her purchase on Black Friday to make the money go further.

In later years, Gantz involved her high school with the project. This year, she’s bringing it to Concordia for the first time.

Students raised money to buy the fleece, collecting more than $75 in change from a change drive in the residence halls.

With some support from Gantz’s mom raising money at home, the students had a total of $425, enough fleece to make 43 blankets. Students and alumni also contributed fleece to the project.

They plan to distribute the blankets to Churches United for the Homeless and the New Life Center.

Gantz said she chose to make blankets because they’re something people need, yet they seem like more of a present than donating food.

“I think blankets are more fun to get, so it kind of serves a dual purpose,” Gantz said.

This was the fourth year Gantz’s roommate and high school classmate Stephanie Schilz has helped with the project.

Schilz said the blanket donations are more meaningful to people because they’re homemade.

“I really like making them, too,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590