Changing Our World Project makes donations to hospitals, Ronald McDonald House
The Changing Our World Project is a volunteer group based out of Sewell whose mission is to create positive change in the world through service projects, performances and workshops that spread its core values of creativity, compassion, contribution and community. This year the COW Project, in conjunction with Washington Township students, donated more than 200 blankets to children and adults in Ronald McDonald Houses and local hospitals.
Ron Lucarini, a representative of the COW Project, described how his famous Blanket Project came to be.
“Two years ago, we started this enormous service project where we bought $4,000 worth of fabric to make blankets,” he said. “We put the Washington Township logo on them and sold them to families. For every one blanket we sold, we donated one to a children’s hospital.”
Lucarini said part of the initial funding for the Blanket Project was from Duffield’s Market’s Corn Maze donation. He credits that donation as critical because without it the Blanket Project might not have occurred.
With the donation in tow from Duffield’s and some leftover money from the COW Project’s annual Hoagie Sale, they purchased thousands of feet of red and blue fabric.
The blankets sold within the township had the Washington Township logo in the center, and the ones to be donated were plain red or blue.
In an effort to take on the making of blankets while drawing in community interest, Lucarini and Superintendent Joe Bollendorf created a process to incorporate all three levels of the school system.
“The middle school kids will cut the material and prep the blankets by matching the colors,” Lucarini said.
Once the blankets were prepped by the middle schoolers, they were sent to the elementary schools where seniors would work with elementary school kids to finalize the blankets by tying them. This was done on Senior Service Day. Lucarini estimates there were close to 400 students involved in making the inaugural Blanket Project a success.
Unfortunately, after one successful year, the Blanket Project was not brought back as an annual event.
After a one-year hiatus, however, Cheryl Miclus, the mother of a student who pitched the Blanket Project to Lucarini before, received some fabric from a company that was going out of business and offered it to Lucarini and the COW Project. Lucarini accepted the donation and brought the Blanket Project back.
Because they were on a short timetable, there was no time to sell half the blankets so they decided to donate more than 200 blankets.
Much like the inaugural Blanket Project, it was done in coordination with Washington Township’s Senior Service Day. The one downfall was the blankets had to be washed, dried and placed in plastic bags because they were going to be handed out to sick children and adults. Luckily for Lucarini, a representative from Inspira came to the rescue.
“Tom Baldosara [CFO at Inspira] contacted me and volunteered Inspira for what would be a monumental task for quite a few of us,” he said.
Baldosaro, a lifelong Washington Township resident, met Lucarini through the COW Project hoagie sale. When he heard that Lucarini needed help with washing blankets he happily stepped up. “We have commercial laundry at Inspira,” he said.
“I have a great deal of respect for what the COW Project does,” Baldosaro added. “I have a great belief in what they’re doing. I look forward to helping him again in the future.”
Inspira held on to roughly half of the blankets while returning 100 of them back to Lucarini, who distributed them equally to the Ronald McDonald house and Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Blankets aside, Lucarini and the COW Project do a lot of work with the Ronald McDonald House. A longtime assistant of the annual hoagie sale named Jeff Malone recently passed. In his obituary, it was requested that donations be made to the COW Project to continue their relationship with the Ronald McDonald House.
For more information about the COW project, visit www.thecowproject.org.