Although Emma’s Birthday Blankets was funded just over a year ago, it has already made a huge difference in the lives of many.
Nine-year-old Emma Jane Houchins was inspired to make a difference just after Christmas last year when she saw a commercial on TV about a boy who was “making his mark” by collecting canned goods and donating them.
Emma’s mother, Mandy Clendenny, tells the story that her young daughter looked at her and said, “Mommy, I don’t want presents this year for my birthday. I want to collect blankets and give them to people who don’t have any. And besides, we just had Christmas anyway, so I really don’t need any more presents.”
Following this conversation, Emma’s Birthday Blankets (EBB) was born in conjunction with the young girl’s February birthday. Shortly following, a Facebook page was created, and the project has grown exponentially since; more than 790 fans at last count.
Emma’s first campaign began in January of 2013 and resulted in the donation of nearly 340 blankets to various organizations around the area.
“Emma personally delivered blankets to the James E. Cary Cancer Center in Hannibal so the chemo patients could stay warm during treatment,” the girl’s mother explained. “She also delivered to the residents at Beth Haven Nursing Home as well as the YWCA Women’s and Children’s Program in Quincy. The American Red Cross gladly accepted some for hurricane victims and for those who lost their homes to fire. Some blankets were given to local cancer patients and a local church took some to the homeless in St. Louis.”
After just one year of service, EBB has already received requests for donations in this year’s campaign.
Clendenny petitions that her daughter’s cause will go on for as long as she wants.
“As her parents, we will support her 100 percent,” Clendenny said. “She is very much involved and loves to make the deliveries.”
With determination from both Emma’s young creative mind and her parents’ assisting ways, EBB should grow in effect for years to come.
“With the right resources and support from her donors, there is no telling what could happen,” Emma’s mother noted.
“Just received this note yesterday, which is the reason why we love Emma’s Birthday Blankets,” Clendenny said: “My husband has to take chemotherapy again, cancer came back. Start again in Jan. Thank you for his blanket he keeps it in the car for trips to Dr. If ever you have extras, a queen one to use at home would be great and some for the cancer patients at Mexico Cancer Center would be great also. Love and God bless your sweet heart. People say cancer stinks, but through this journey it has brought my family closer to God and taught us so much through research. Life is all about helping others and living it to its fullest with no regrets. After getting laid off I thought “God, what next” but I pray when the doors open I will be back to work. I will cherish this time for now with my husband, daughter and grand daughters as he fights this cancer. Love your precious heart. Thank you”
More information on Emma’s Birthday Blankets is available on the program’s Facebook page.
EBB has several drop-off locations throughout several counties.
*The Encore Emporium – 4500 Paris Gravel Rd. Hannibal, Mo.
*Main Street Thrift Shop – 101 S. Main. Monroe City, Mo.
*Creative Country – 108 N. 4th. Canton, Mo.
*State Farm – 503 W. Hwy 54. Vandalia, Mo.
*American Family Insurance – Main St. New London, Mo.
*Dr. Chismarich Dental – 310 W Main Bowling Green, Mo.
Nine-year-old Emma Jane Houchins began collecting blankets last year to donate to those in need.