Spreading a little warmth this holiday season
by Ed Wendell
Dec 26, 2019 | 1581 views | 0 0 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of American Legion Auxiliary Post 118 in Woodhaven with the blankets they made for the residents at New York State Veterans' Home in St. Albans.
Members of American Legion Auxiliary Post 118 in Woodhaven with the blankets they made for the residents at New York State Veterans' Home in St. Albans.
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Members of American Legion Post 118 in Woodhaven helped deliver the blankets.
Members of American Legion Post 118 in Woodhaven helped deliver the blankets.
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Over at the New York State Veterans' Home in St. Albans, you’ll find many men and even a few women who served our country in their youth.

And this Christmas, those veterans will be a little warmer thanks to the efforts of American Legion Auxiliary Post 118 in Woodhaven and the yarn donated by our residents.

“We were looking to make at least 75 lap blankets,” says Janet Chan-Smith, president of the Woodhaven Post 118 Auxiliary. “This way, we’ll not only keep them warm, but we’ll be letting them know we honor and appreciate their service.”

But thanks to the hard work from volunteers around Woodhaven and other parts of Queens, last week members of the American Legion Auxiliary dropped off 116 blankets.

“With all of the donations and volunteers, we were able to provide one blanket to each and every veteran at St. Albans, plus leave behind a bunch for future veteran residents of the home,” Chan-Smith said.

In order to see the project through, the American Legion Auxiliary needed yarn and lots of it. They put out the word for donations, and when they still ran short they asked the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society to lend a hand.

So back in May we held a yarn drive and asked residents to donate, culminating in a Memorial Day event at Neir’s Tavern that resulted in a massive pile of donated red, white and blue yarn.

“This was a group effort,” Chan-Smith said. “From the people making the blankets to everyone who took time to donate yarn, we were all in this together.”

On December 15, members of American legion Post 118 and the Auxiliary made their way to St. Albans with their loads of blankets and other treats for the veterans.

“We also brought pizza,” Chan-Smith said. “The kind with toppings, which is a real treat because they usually just get plain,”

They also played bingo with the vets and gave them coupons, which they can use in the commissary within St. Albans.

The mobile veterans were able to come down and take part in the fun and go back to their rooms with a new blanket. But the Auxiliary made sure the other veterans weren’t left out. All of them received a blanket, too.

It was a remarkable project, one that everyone who played a part in can feel proud of.

“I wish everyone could have seen the smiles on their faces when they saw the blankets,” Chan-Smith said. “It brought them real joy and let them know that they weren’t forgotten, and that we appreciated everything that they’ve done for our country.”

When asked what plans the Woodhaven Post 118 Auxiliary had next, Chan-Smith said they were undecided. They are busy planning their annual St. Patrick’s Day Party, and if you’ve never been you’re missing out on a good time.

By then, they should be ready to reveal their plans and the residents of Woodhaven stand by to assist, if needed.

Thank you to American Legion Auxiliary Post 118 and everyone who contributed to this heartwarming project.

On a final note, I just wanted to thank everyone out there that reads this column every week, I am humbled that you take time to do so.

It was through these pages of the Leader-Observer that we were able to spread the word and gather the yarn needed to turn this project from dream to reality.

From our families at the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society and the Leader-Observer, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. May it be spent in warmth and comfort surrounded by friends and family.

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