If you live in the South Jersey area and have been on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the post from a Haddonfield mom searching for a missing blanket.
The item is made up of shirts that belong to Kim O’Callaghan’s son, acquired in his childhood and teenage years, including his lacrosse jersey. His mom saved the shirts for 13 years, then accidentally dropped the finished blanket off at the Goodwill store on Grove Street in May.
O’Callaghan didn’t discover her mistake until two weeks later, when she planned to wrap the blanket and give it to her son as a graduation present, as she did for her daughter. She found a bin full of unused T-shirts instead.
“The idea was that it was kind of like a memory blanket, like a photo album of all of their memories, one they could actually use like a blanket, especially when they’re going to college and feel a bit homesick,” O’Callaghan explained.
“It was a way for them to wrap themselves up with a little piece of home.”
Though she and some family and friends went back to Goodwill to find the blanket, they learned that at the donation-only site, whatever comes in typically goes out the same day. O’Callaghan checked other Goodwill stores before accepting the loss and telling her son about the blanket.
“It really could go anywhere,” O’Callaghan noted. “One of the things I’m a little worried about …, is that when they (Goodwill) have an item like this that they may feel they couldn’t sell because it says Haddonfield lacrosse, Haddonfield football.
“It has my son’s last name on one of the squares from the back of his jersey,” she added. “They may have used that to wrap a lamp or something they were shipping somewhere.”
Despite thinking the blanket was lost, O’Callaghan took the advice of a friend and posted her situation on Facebook on June 12. It blew up seemingly overnight.
“I put it on Facebook thinking 10, 15 of my close family and friends would share it, (that) it would get a little bit of notice in our area, never in a million years thinking it would get all those (reactions),” O’Callaghan noted.
The post has now been shared more than 10,000 times, eliciting 800 comments and more than 650 reactions. It has been shared not just locally but across the U.S. and even in Canada, and on radio.
Busy with her work as a Timber Creek Regional High School counselor, O’Callaghan at first didn’t notice all the attention until alerted by friends. The Facebook reaction was one of compassion and kindness, and a number of individuals reported visiting their own local stores to find the blanket.
“People, complete strangers, are going out of their way to try and help me find this thing, which is just overwhelming, because I can’t believe how nice people have been about this,” O’Callaghan enthused.
“Because honestly, it was my own fault,” she added. “It was me rushing and not paying attention … I feel like it kind of shows a better side of how people are willing to help a stranger.”
If anyone has information on the still-missing blanket, reach out to O’Callaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org.