Blanket Drive strives to keep people warm in times of crisis


January 28, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

Mary Brown has spent the past 20 winters teaching Mount Airy residents -- young and old -- that a blanket can be much more than just a warm cover to someone in need.

As the Mount Airy area chairwoman of the Annual Blanket Drive that benefits the international disaster relief mission of Church World Service, Mrs. Brown is always willing to talk about a blanket's potential.

Blankets serve many purposes for people displaced from their homes by disasters -- natural and man-made.

Blankets can be used as coats, backpacks, window curtains, makeshift doors and ground covers, according to Mrs. Brown.

She has found the hands-on method valuable when educating local Sunday school students and church members about the blanket drive.

"I've had them help me make a stretcher out of the blankets," she said. "I've had them help me make a tent."

Several local churches participate in the ecumenical blanket drive sponsored by Church Women United, the organization that also sponsors World Day of Prayer each March.

Mrs. Brown said although donations of used blankets in good condition are welcome, most people give cash or check.

The donations are used by Church World Service to purchase by the truckload from United States factories in the South.

"Five dollars buys a good-quality blanket," Mrs. Brown said.

The annual bounty of blankets obtained through this and other drives is warehoused at the nearby New Windsor Service Center until needed.

"Wherever there is an emergency, they automatically send blankets there," said Mrs. Brown.

During the past year, blankets were sent by Church World Service to victims of the political crises in Bosnia, Siberia and Somalia, as well as to the homeless in the northeastern United States and flood victims in the Midwest, according to information from the New Windsor Service Center.

The blanket drive is one of several mission outreach projects supported by Mrs. Brown, who owned Mount Airy's Western Auto store with her husband, Henry, before their retirement. The couple has two grown sons.

A member of the Mount Airy Homemakers and the Mount Airy 55 Plus Club, Mrs. Brown also coordinates Mount Airy NET's community food pantry housed at Calvary United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Brown, who is an active member of Calvary Church, also volunteers at the New Windsor Service Center, where she works with a group one day each month to open, inspect, repack and price items for the SERRV International Gift Shop.

She said chairing the Annual Blanket Drive is just part of her "work of helping others."

"This is one way of reaching people you never see," Mrs. Brown said.

The Annual Blanket Drive is in progress and will continue through Feb. 15.

Mrs. Brown said this year's goal is to top the 1993 local tally of $1,600.

Donations may be made payable to Church World Service Center and mailed to Mary C. Brown, P.O. Box 73, Mount Airy 21771.

For information, call Mrs. Brown at 829-1617.


Members of the Mount Airy Centennial Committee are looking for a few local residents to open their homes to the public for the Historic Homes Tour on May 21.

Six homes are scheduled to participate in this centennial celebration event and the committee would like to add more houses to the tour list.

Participants may offer one, two or more rooms in their homes to the tour.

The hours and cost of tickets for Mount Airy's Historic House Tour will be decided later.

Plans call for the proceeds from this event to go toward establishing a Mount Airy Museum at the former Town Hall.

Residents considering participating in the house tour are encouraged to direct their questions and concerns to: Joann Rockwell at (301) 831-5548; Mary Ann Gehle (301) 829-9054; or Bonnie Macey (301) 831-5173.

The deadline for registration is Feb. 6.

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