Nova Scotia

Volunteer collects blankets for residents of Halifax seniors home

This year marks the third Nicole Martelle will be collecting donations of homemade and purchased blankets for seniors at Northwood, an assisted living facility.

'I wanted to make sure they knew they were special and people cared about them'

Nicole Martelle shows some donated handmade blankets and quilts to help make Christmas merrier for long-term care residents at Northwood. (Submitted by Nicole Martelle)

A Bedford, N.S., woman who collects blankets for residents of a Halifax seniors home is looking for more donations.

The year will be the third that Nicole Martelle has collected blankets to give to seniors at Northwood, a place where she works and volunteers.

"The first year I just did it because I started volunteering and I didn't really know if my residents necessarily had families or friends or people around them at Christmastime, and I wanted to make sure they knew they were special and people cared about them," Martelle said.

Unlike previous years, where only handmade blankets were collected, this year Martelle will also be collecting store-bought blankets.

"We had people over the last two years saying they couldn't knit or crochet and they still wanted to help, so this is a way they can help and still make it special," she said.

Martelle said the bulk of donations come in the first week of December, but she said she hasn't has as many responses from people committing to donate this year.

She said she has 30 blankets on hand and has commitments for another 16-17. She collected 208 blankets last year and hopes to match or exceed that number this year.

 

"There's probably more coming in, but it's getting close to the deadline," she said. "The deadline this year is Dec. 15 and of course I'd like to have them all by then, but if some [come in late] we'll find homes for them."

Martelle said she would like to have enough blankets to split between Northwood Manor and Northwood Bedford this year.

She said the gifts make the residents feel good at this time of year.

"Last year, we had an RN tell us afterwards that one of the residents was crying and said it was one of the most beautiful, thoughtful gifts she'd ever received," she said.

"And that's really special, especially on a special-care floor, which means most people have Alzheimer's or dementia, so that's really special."

Anyone interested in donating a blanket this year can contact Northwood Halifax reception or find Martelle on Facebook.

"If they want to drop anything off, Northwood Halifax reception is taking them and so is the Dartmouth Northwood Foundation," she said.

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Anjuli Patil

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Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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