Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tucson's Arizona Daily Star article: Group makes, gives out 200 blankets for homeless

published December 20, 2010

Some homeless Tucsonans received the gift of warmth Sunday at downtown's Z Mansion.

Two hundred black fleece blankets were passed out to men and women at a weekly brunch hosted by WORKship Methodist Church, which was founded by Tom and Em Hill.

The church provides hot meals for the homeless each Sunday outside the Z Mansion, which the Hills own.

On Sunday, the guests - the volunteers don't refer to them as homeless - were served sliced ham, mashed potatoes, salad, fruit, cheese and sweets.

As the guests left, each was given a sack lunch and gift bag full of toiletries and other treats.

Their hands were also full with new fleece blankets.

Holy Needles, a local group that fashions beanies, blankets and booties for disadvantaged newborns, produced 200 blankets over the last couple of months to pass out at Sunday's brunch.

"It feels absolutely awesome to help the community and make them something they can use," said Donna Bishop, coordinator of Holy Needles.

More than 20 volunteers cut the fleece into blankets.

"They'll cover the head and the feet and keep them nice and warm," said Bishop, who volunteers at the brunch once a month with Casas Church.

Earlier this year, the group received a donation of 750 yards of fleece from Polartec that allowed it to branch out and help others.

Holy Needles donates more than 500 baby items to hospitals and birthing centers every three months.

But on Sunday, it was all about another needy group.

Michael Moyers was ecstatic after a volunteer handed him a blanket.

"It will keep me warm," he said.

Joyce Thompson was amazed by the quality of her new blanket.

"This is soft," she said. "For me, it's so cozy. I'm going to wrap myself up in it."
Holy needles... The local group is always in need of donations of fleece, yarn and cash.

Contact the group by e-mail at or go to its website at for more information.

Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at or 807-8430.

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