Shauna Groenewold wasn’t looking for any special recognition when she started making baby blankets.
The first few were for her daughter’s friends — who at the time were pregnant high schoolers — about eight years ago.
Teen pregnancy was “scary and hard” for the girls, and one of them hadn’t received any handmade gifts. So Groenewold bought some fleece fabric, edged it with a blanket stitch she learned from her grandmother, and crocheted to finish.
“It just kind of kept going from there,” said Groenewold. “Everybody liked them, and then some of her friends had one child and had a second child, and one of them has four kids, and all four of them have blankets.”
That’s how #100BlanketsOfLove was born. Having handed out blankets to friends, family, social media acquaintances and co-workers’ nieces, nephews and grandchildren, Groenewold is at number 70 now,.
Groenewold, who is webmaster for the department of education in Lincoln, Nebraska, tweeted a photo of her latest creation using #ShareKindness, hashtag for the Season of Kindness, a 40-day celebration of acts of kindness big and small.
She personalizes the fabric for each blanket by asking the recipient if the baby’s room has a theme or a color scheme. She sends a card along, too, that says “babies are the best way to start people.”
“A lot of times, people are just seriously shocked. It’s a very small gesture but it took time and it’s handmade, so it’s kind of a big deal.”
A blanket will take around four hours to finish, and since Groenewold doesn’t have much downtime from her job and life, she tends to do a few at a time while she and her husband are on a road trip.
“It’s the way I was raised,” she said. “My dad doesn’t know a stranger, and he and my mom too, are really kind people who kind of try to help out and I’ve tried to raise my daughter like that, who’s now 25.”
Though she’s close to her goal, Groenewold won’t stop at 100.
Her reason, she said, is “selfish.”
“When you do something nice for somebody, what you get back is way better than what you do. That’s probably what keeps me looking for ways to do things. It gets to be a lifestyle and people don’t understand it, but if you volunteer, it’s better for you than for the people you volunteer for.”