As cooler temps begin to shoo the summer swelter, members of the Sharing the Warmth Group of The Friends of Westfield Memorial Library are helping ensure Union County’s foster youth are ready for Mother Nature. The group’s recent handmade and heartfelt donation of more than 30 knit and crochet afghans to the nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County promises not just physical comfort to these fragile foster youth, but emotional warmth too. (After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.)

There are 500 Union County children, teens and young adults living in foster care through no fault of their own, and CASA of Union County’s volunteer advocates serve approximately two-thirds of those youth. Advocates have court-ordered access to a child and all parties in their life, then report findings to the judge in order to ensure best interests remain a priority, needs are met, and the youth’s trauma is not exacerbated while in care.

Upon seeing the panoply of colorful afghans, Executive Director Marla Higginbotham said, “Knowing such bright and happy works of art will go to and comfort children who have endured so much brings a smile to my face, as do the wonderfully talented members of Sharing the Warmth.Thank you all for investing your time and entrusting your handiwork to CASA of Union County and the children depending on it. You have, indeed, shared the warmth.”

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Diane Weinberg, knitting group chairwoman, explained, “Sharing the Warmth is a group of volunteers who meet twice monthly at the Westfield Memorial Library to knit or crochet four-by-five foot afghans. In recent years, we’ve collected about 100 afghans from our hardworking volunteers. We are so pleased to have begun our ninth year of Sharing the Warmth!” Other recipients include a Pennsylvania camp for children impacted by cancer, the library’s Books on Wheels program, and Center for Hope Hospice.

Interested in becoming a court appointed special advocate for a local foster youth, or sponsoring or attending upcoming CASA events, including this fall’s Foster the Dream Gala? Contact Courtney at 908-293-8136 or, or log on to for details.

Pictured: Sharing the Warmth, a group within The Friends of Westfield Memorial Library, presented more than 30 handmade afghans to CASA of Union County’s Executive Director Marla Higginbotham for distribution to local foster youth served by the nonprofit. From left, Meryl Reichman, Anna Lee Bachtell, Diane Weinberg, Peggy Holleran, Higginbotham, Barbara Uhr, Mary Ann Dolling and Cindy Colicchio.