BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Maryanne Gabbett, of Girl Scout Troop 61254 in Bridgewater, completed her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, which was to develop a “Blankets for Buddies” program focusing on four county and independent animal shelters/ rescue organizations in Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
The facilities helped included Tabby’s Place of Ringoes, Lost Paws Rescue of Pittstown, the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter of Bridgewater and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of Branchburg. Gabbett is a student at Montgomery Academy in Basking Ridge.
Prior to beginning this project, Gabbett visited each of the four groups and conducted informational interviews to identify what community-based needs truly existed. Gabbett identified that animals need warmth and comfort to calm themselves and to help support their physical and emotional well-being and healing, and that emotionally well-balanced and comforted animals are more likely to be adopted.
Gabbett also identified that shelters, rescues and foster families are in need of many types of supplies and that there are desperately needed supplies that are less likely to be donated by the average shelter drive. Her goal was to provide for cats and small dog breeds that would find comfort in playing with and burrowing into her No-Sew Blankets and playing/cuddling with small, soft fleece toys. This identified need generated her idea for her “Blankets for Buddies” project.
During the 2013-2014 school year, Gabbett managed a team of 25 volunteers across four states who helped her to sort, organize and cut fabric per her templates, and then create more than 500 fleece blankets and toys. This team helped her to ultimately provide donations to each of the four facilities this spring, in which included 280 fleece blankets and 221 toys. All donations were handmade.
Gabbett and her team of 26 volunteers contributed approximately 547.75 community service hours to the project under her direction. These volunteers included friends, family, young adults with special needs and senior citizens. A significant bonus identified during this project was that tying the blankets and toys served as a therapeutic, calming activity for all the volunteers who were involved in the project. On May 19, Gabbett was awarded the “Humane Hero Award” from the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center.
Community members can learn how to make these fleece blankets by viewing her You Tube Video “No-Sew Pet Blankets” which is located at: www.youtube.com/channel/UC34jn8aUKSxOF6eegMQT9Bg