A local doctor's office is challenging the community to help a Girl Scout troop more than quadruple the number of blankets they make each year for homeless teens.
Every Christmas, Troop 32044 makes brightly colored "no sew" fleece blankets for teens served by the Maslow Project's outreach center near Medford Central High School.
Donations are being sought by Girl Scout Troop 32044 to collect or purchase additional fleece so that the girls can reach their goal of making at least 100 blankets for homeless teens.
If you would like to help with a donation, call troop leader Carol Steadman at 541-531-3738.
Typically, troop member Skylar Farmer says, the troop tries to make 20 to 24 blankets to be distributed to teens who need them.
Learning about the increasing number of homeless teens served by Maslow prompted a troop vote to increase its goal to at least 100 blankets this year, said Skylar, 11.
With many yards of fleece required to meet such a lofty goal, the efforts of the eight-member troop tugged at the heartstrings of a Medford doctor, Gregory Grumwald, of Oregon Internal Medicine.
Grumwald made a pact with the group of sixth-graders, who use troop funds and solicit donations each year to make the blankets, to match the amount of fleece donated by community members.
The number of blankets to be made, said Skylar, will depend on how much fleece is donated.
A five to eight hour blanket-making session is planned for Sunday, with other local troops being recruited to help assemble the blankets.
With Grumwald's match, the scouts could make more than 100 blankets, if the community steps up to help.
Skylar, who said the troop would accept donations of fleece or cash to purchase the fleece, said the project was something she looks forward to every year.
"It makes me feel happy to know that I am helping somebody who really needs something," she said. "This will be my fourth year doing this project."
Grumwald said he felt strongly about supporting the community's youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
"These kids are on their own, trying to get by and not fall between the cracks," he said. "When they sleep at night, these blankets give them something to keep warm and it's almost like they're getting a hug from the community that they aren't getting from their family.
"I couldn't imagine being thrown out of my home at that age and being out on the streets alone. When we were all kids, we had our security blankets. These kids have had that security stripped from them so I feel this is a very, very important project."
Maslow Project development manager Karen Phillips said the blankets are popular with Maslow clients.
"This time of year it's a very, very welcome gift, not just because it keeps you warm but knowing there are people in the community who care makes a big impact on these kids," Phillips said.
"I am consistently amazed by the generosity of the community. A warm and soft blanket, made by hand with good thoughts behind it, is a lot bigger gift than just a blanket."
People interested in donating are asked to call troop leader Carol Steadman at 541-531-3738.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.