Columnist

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful – and funny - life.

The day began before the sun, as most of mine do.

Even when I have no early morning plans, the new puppy has to stay on his schedule of potty training, medicine and breakfast by 6 a.m. One morning this weekend, my oldest daughter arrived while I was still walking the dog.

By the time the sun was up, the coffee was perked, and we drank a cup together while we chatted.

Once we had finished, we got to work.

It was a Grandma’s Lap workday, and we planned to maximize our time. As a refresher, Grandma’s Lap was formed shortly after my mom passed away from kidney disease several years ago. The original plan was to make a few blankets and donate them in memory of my mom, but my kiddo decided to try for 100 homemade blankets as her senior project.

Once word got out, it took on a life of its own. In fact, over the past seven years we have donated more than 3,600 blankets.

Our network of volunteers largely consists of blanket makers. Dozens of knitters, crocheters, quilters and fleece blanket makers continue to supply the blankets we send. Each blanket is washed, dried and placed in a plastic bag with an informational card about our organization and a heart that tells the recipient who made their blanket and why.

And on workdays like we had this weekend, that is what is done. This past weekend, we packaged more than 100 blankets. Once they were packaged, they were boxed up and prepared for shipment. Although we do send blankets to individuals upon request, largely we provide blankets to dialysis clinics in the tri-state area. We also undertake service to new clinics, while committing to cycling through our “regular” clinics every two to three years.

So much has changed over the years.

We moved our operation into commercial office space a few years back, but during a period of light financial support, we made the decision to move back into my house. It was a good choice, as it allowed us to again maximize donation dollars toward our mission, as opposed to overhead.

Due to my work schedule, we also began shipping blankets instead of delivering them in person, except for the particularly local clinics. That plan worked out well in 2020, when non-essential personnel weren’t allowed in medical settings – or anywhere else – for much of the year.

In addition to packaging blankets, this weekend we also worked on cutting out the hearts that are included with each blanket, inventorying supplies, scheduling the next distributions and reconciling the finances. It is a lot of work, and this part is handled by just the two of us.

I am grateful to God for allowing me the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives. I am grateful that I get to continue this journey with the daughter who started it with me. I am particularly grateful for all the community support that continues to be showered upon us. We couldn’t do it without you.

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