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Charles City fourth grade students donate blankets to help those in need of comfort

  • Lincoln fourth-grader Deyzi Arenas gets ready to address a pep assembly while she stands alongside her teacher, Bethany Jurrens, on Friday afternoon in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Lincoln fourth-grade student Alexis Putney wheels a cart of fleece blankets that were donated to the Charles City Police Department on Friday afternoon. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson speaks to students at Lincoln Elmentary School in Charles City on Friday afternoon. Officers in the background are Jordan Smith (left) and Duane Ollendick. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra,

It’s amazing what a pair of scissors and a charitable spirit can accomplish.

After some quick calculations, plenty of fabric and a little effort, around 100 Charles City fourth-grade students gave back before Christmas.

Bethany Jurrens’ fourth grade class at Lincoln Elementary donated fleece blankets they made to the Charles City Police Department on Friday afternoon. Jurrens said all Lincoln fourth-graders set aside one day to construct the blankets in the school’s gymnasium. It took a little under two hours to fashion around 30 blankets of various colors and patterns.

“We tied it in with math and measurement, that was the big thing. We made them a template that they could then cut and tie. Once we showed them one to two times, they kind of just took off with it,” said Jurrens. “You could have heard a pin drop. They were just all busy tying and cutting. For almost 100 fourth graders to sit and do that, that was way impressive.”

Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson said the blankets would be used by his officers to comfort those in need. The blankets will also be donated to the American Medical Response (AMR), Charles City Fire Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and a few to the Department of Human Services.

“One of the big things we can use is blankets,” said Anderson. “When kids are scared or going through some bad experiences or whatever, it’s very nice to have something soft and cuddly, even if you’re a big kid.”

Jurrens said she came up with the idea after seeing on social media that another school in the area did something similar. Then Justin DeVore, director of communications and community engagement for the Charles City Community School District, contacted local businesses that may be interested in donating the fabric. JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores in Mason City donated almost all of the fleece fabric for the big project.

“It’s more than just a blanket. It’s helping people and giving things back to people,” said fourth-grader Addison Ellis.

Lincoln Principal Marcia DeVore sent out a challenge to third graders who were in attendance at the assembly when the blankets were handed out.

“My challenge to you as third graders is to be eyes open, looking for what are the needs in our community so that as you become fourth graders, you can be thinking about what can we do to show our great citizenship, too,” DeVore said.

CCPD Community Resources Officer Duane Ollendick said some of the blankets will be kept in the trunk of squad cars to go along with first aid items and other life-saving equipment. He said officers have military wool blankets in their cars, but the fleece blankets are a lot more comforting.

“We really want to thank the fourth grade students for their contribution and to be thinking about the community in that way. It shows they care and they want to help others,” said Ollendick.