Hey Ace: During the snowstorm, I cleaned my house and went through some old things. I have a couple of blankets I no longer use, and was wondering how I might go about getting them to somebody in need. Which organizations collect these, and to whom do they distribute?—Giving-it-away-in-Charlottesville
It really is a shame that the Whiteout of ’09 didn’t happen any sooner. For one, Ace might not have had to spend three days in an airport, subsisting on the unexpected kindness of the ticketing staff and his own fertile imagination. Of course, there weren’t many comfortable places to sleep, but Ace, who never leaves home without his ankle-length overcoat, was well equipped to rest warm and snug. But not everyone is so fortunate. Many people—and animals—go cold during the winter months from lack of such a simple amenity as a warm blanket.
Again, it’s a shame the snowstorm didn’t happen earlier, because then you might have found those blankets in time to donate them to the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA during their 4th Annual Blanket Drive, which lasted throughout the first two weeks of December and collected over 1,100 blankets and towels for kennel dogs and cats. Although the official drive has ended, Ace can’t imagine the SPCA would turn away additional blanket donations if you were to visit their office on Berkmar Drive.
Nationally, there are a number of organizations that will accept and redistribute blankets and other comfort items to the needy. The American Red Cross holds regular blanket drives, and other groups make blanket distribution their main priority. Project Linus, for example, delivers blankets to seriously ill or traumatized children, and can be reached through their Central Virginia chapter. Another, Project Night Night, creates care packages for homeless children and pre-teens. A list of chapter locations, and donation item guidelines, can be found at projectnightnight.org.
These options notwithstanding, you could always try the airport on a snowy night.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 21 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.