A pair of scissors and lots of fleece fabric are tools Madison Murchak and volunteers are using to help veterans.
"They're very easy to make. Anybody can make them," said Murchak.
Murchak founded "Fleece Connection" officially in 2015, but the idea for her nonprofit actually grew out of her senior project in high school.
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"I made fleece blankets and would distribute them to homeless families in the Appalachian region in West Virginia. I really enjoyed doing this and it really opened my eyes to a whole new world that is right around us in the Pittsburgh community," said Murchak.
That included an eye-opening look at the needs of U.S. military personnel. The no-sew blankets are weighted and weigh about 7 pounds, and that weight helps both veterans and active military members in times of need and recovery.
"The heavy weight of the fleece material actually helps to soothe symptoms of PTSD, stress, anxiety, and depression," said Murchak.
Fleece Connection has handed out approximately 400 blankets across the country to help veterans heal.
"It's a really cool way to go into the hospital and meet the veterans. Go room-to-room, hand them the blanket, hand them a card that thanks them for their service," said Murchak. "The Fourth of July and Memorial Day and Veterans' Day mean so much more to me now than they ever have before and I'm just so excited to be able to be just a small part in making a bit of a difference in these men and women's lives."
For information on how to get involved in workshops with Fleece Connection and how to help, visit its website at fleececonnection.weebly.com
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