Saskatoon group sending warm regards, warmer blankets to asylum seekers in Manitoba

Cecilia Rajanayagam and a group of volunteers had already made dozens of blankets for a charity last year so they decided to try it again — this time for asylum seekers in Manitoba.

Group makes 52 blankets for asylum seekers who crossed the U.S. border into Manitoba

Rajanayagam wanted to send a message of welcome — in the form of warm, fleece blankets — to asylum seekers who had crossed the U.S. border into Manitoba. (Dario Ayala/Reuters)

The old saying says to try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, so that's what Cecilia Rajanayagam and a group of Saskatoon volunteers did. 

Rajanayagam told CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition the group made 52 blankets for asylum seekers who crossed the U.S. border into Manitoba.

"The main message I wanted to give was one of welcome," she said. 

A simple gift of warmth was the idea. The group had already made 50 fleece blankets for charities in Saskatoon last year.

Logistically, everything was in place — all that was needed was a phone call to set the wheels in motion again, Rajanayagam said.
Two Saskatoon churches stepped up to help, offering 17 more blankets. (Supplied)

Hearing of the work on the blankets, two churches stepped up offering 17 blankets of their own.

The initial goal was to send 50 blankets in total, she added.

Rajanayagam said news of asylum seekers crossing the border in extreme cold weather, sometimes with children, prompted the idea. 

"I think, most importantly, I want whoever receives [a blanket] to realize they are not forgotten," she said. 

The blankets were made in various houses of worship — a mosque, a synagogue and two churches — over a two week period, and will now be shipped to Winnipeg.

Along with the blankets will be a simple, handwritten note from whomever made the blanket, contained within a handmade drawstring bag.

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition