Baseball and blankets: Student volunteers make blankets for homeless population while watching the Royals

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Cut, fringe and tie. These are the three steps used to make the one-layer twisted blankets that were donated to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter by Kansas State’s Putnam Hall.

Council members from the residence hall organized an event known as “Baseball and Blankets” on Sunday where volunteers made the twisted blankets while watching a Kansas City Royal’s game.

The idea of making the blankets was brought about by the council members wanting to hold an event where community service was involved. One of the members, Braedy Busenitz, sophomore in architecture, helped bring the event to life.

“All of the Putnam Hall Council got together to discuss what we could do to benefit the community,” Busenitz said. “We were originally going to hold an event on Earth Day and pick up trash, but we did that last year and decided to go a more original route. We thought that helping out the Manhattan Emergency Shelter was the way to go.”

The Manhattan Emergency Shelter is a homeless shelter located on Fourth Street. According to the shelter’s website, the shelter offers a transitional shelter, supportive housing programs and homeless rental assistance programs. The shelter also offers volunteer programs for people who would like to help.

Busenitz said he appreciates what the shelter does for Riley County’s homeless population.

“We wanted to do something different that would actually benefit others, even if it is just in a small way,” Busenitz said. “I appreciate and respect what the shelter does for people, helping them back on their feet, offering them a place to stay. We wanted to help them out with that and we figured we could help them keep some homeless people warm.”

Cole Dister, junior in construction science and a council member, explained how the baseball aspect of the event came about.

“We knew we needed something to attract more attention to the event,” Dister said. “We figured out that the Royals play the Texas Rangers on the same day we plan on making blankets. A lot of residents don’t have cable, so we thought if we streamed the game then a lot of people would come down to watch, see what we are doing for a good cause and join in.”

Disappointing to the Royals fans, the Royals lost to the Rangers 5-2, but council members said the event was still a success.

Attendees helped the council reach their target goal for number of blankets made, which was 12 hand-tied blankets. The event brought in around 20 people willing to contribute to the cause, a surprisingly good amount seeing as “Baseball and Blankets” was only advertised through Putnam Hall, Busenitz said.

Jessie Johannes, freshman in animal sciences and industry, was one of the people who attended the event and praised what “Baseball and Blankets” was doing for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter.

“I thought it was a really good event to have,” Johannes said. “I am not even a very big sports fan, but I showed up because I wanted to do something for the community. It is a good event to give back and I hope that I can play a part in maybe keeping somebody warm.”

The volunteers at the event spent the duration of the Royal’s game making blankets, even teaming up with each other to make sure they met their goal. The council members then drove the 12 blankets to the shelter the same evening.

“I’m glad we met our goal and hopefully these blankets can make even the smallest of difference for someone out there,” Busenitz said.

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