OWATONNA — Nearly 60 second- and sixth-grade St. Mary’s School students were scattered around the dining hall on the Pillsbury College Prep and Camp campus Thursday morning cutting and tying fleece blankets.
“It’s really fun and relaxing,” said sixth-grader Elizabeth Prostrollo, while cutting fabric on the edges of a 30-square-feet yellow and orange blanket with sixth-grader Madeline Koslowsky and second-grader Avery Alanis.
The blanket Prostrollo, Koslowsky and Alanis worked on was one of 15 that were made for Beds for Kids, an organization established in 2010 in Owatonna to provide beds to children in need each year. Helping with the tie-blankets was part of National Catholic Schools Week, an annual celebration of Catholic education in the U.S.
Since Beds for Kids was started, it’s provided more than 220 twin-size beds, including a head and footboard, mattress pad, pillow and bedding, to children in Steele and Waseca counties.
“Most of us get to go home to a warm bed, but others do not,” said sixth-grade teacher Stacey Ginskey, who is also a volunteer with Beds for Kids.
Ginskey is the one who brought the idea to the school five years ago, and since then, the second- and sixth-grade “reading buddies” have taken time to help out.
“It’s a good tradition,” second-grade teacher Lori Haarstad said.
Second-grade teacher Lori Connor purchased the blanket kits with money students donated.
“We encouraged them to earn the money, so this is truly their project,” she said.
After students finished the blankets, they grabbed markers and construction paper to make cards to be delivered with the blankets.
“Mine’s going to say, ‘I hope it brings you comfort and joy,’” sixth-grader Ande Storm said.
Other students wished warmth and a Happy Valentine’s Day.
“It’s fun, service and learning all in one day,” said sixth-grade teacher Stacey Ginskey.
St. Mary’s kicked off National Catholic Schools Week with an open house and pancake breakfast on Sunday followed by dress-up days, service projects, activities and Mass. The week concludes with family bingo from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday in the St. Mary’s cafeteria.