Why the focus on animal shelters? . . . . . What's our inspiration?
(AKA - Why we keep making blankets, even though we have jobs to do, kids to watch, dishes to wash, bills to pay...)
Around the time I was frantically crocheting my first blankets, I ran across this story. It's told many different ways (sometimes starfish, other times jellyfish) and with varying characters, but I think it captures the heart of every CFC volunteer.
The Star Thrower
One day a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a young boy going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth the boy went.
As the man approached, he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide. The man was struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to die.
As he approached, the boy continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them back into the sea. As he came up to the boy he said, "You must be crazy! There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The boy looked at the man. He then bent down and picked up one more starfish, and threw it back into the sea. He turned back to the man and said, "But it made a difference to that one."
What's the address to ship items to headquarters?
Ship yarn, blanket and postage donations to our headquarters in Glen Ellyn, IL:
3s139 Sequoia Drive - Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
How long have you been around?
Comfort for Critters began as "Knitters for Critters" in 2007, after adopting a little kitten named "Anna," and seeing a need to comfort all those who wouldn't be going home that day. In 2007 we had just one volunteer, frantically working to make 100 blankets! We really got going in 2009, when we launched our website and greatly expanded the number of shelters we support.
How many volunteers do you have?
It really depends on the year...but we've been growing for sure! In 2015, we have about 100 ladies actually making the blankets....but many more volunteers donating materials, making deliveries and sponsoring a shipment or two!
Which animals do you support with your blankets?
All of them! We've provided blankets for cats and dogs, as expected...but we've also comforted guinea pigs, Fennec foxes, fancy rats, rabbits, and even tigers, with our blankets.
Do you only make small, 20" square, blankets?
No, we make blankets of all sizes. We suggest the smaller ones for our new volunteers since they are quick to make and can be used by the greatest variety of pets. We encourage all our volunteers to follow their heart and make the size they feel is right - whether it's a small blanket for a guinea pig or a large one for a Labrador Retriever! We can find a home for any size blanket and love all critters, great and small!
Do you just work with shelters, or foster-care rescue groups as well?
We support all groups which provide care for animals in need. Many of the organizations on our list do not have an actual "shelter," but care for the animals in a series of foster-homes. We are grateful for the sacrifices of these volunteers, and happily do our part in providing as many blankets as they need.
How are the blankets used (besides just cuddling)?
We frequently hear great stories of how our blankets have "saved the day." Often adoptive families are so excited about the process, that they come to the adoption center with just an empty carrier. When they find out that a cuddly blanket will line the carrier - to make a more comfortable ride home - they are so grateful.
Many of the shelters use our blankets to wrap around a warming disk for the animals who come to them ill. They put the disk in the microwave and then tuck them into a blanket. Shelters also love to wrap the critters in their blankets for the frequent vet trips the animals have to take. The blankets provide something comforting and the vets typically keep the blankets with the animal through their entire visit.
Are blankets needed year-round or only in the winter?
This program started during an especially cold winter in Chicago, but these blankets are needed by the shelters year-round. Even in the summer, the air conditioning used at the shelters make the cages ice-cold. As the animals become attached to their blanket, it provides year-round warmth and comfort.
There is, unfortunately, a constant flow of animals into area shelters. This reaches a peak during the spring "kitten-season," but there is also a need for more blankets year-round for new arrivals.