Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 9, 2016

‘Sharing the Weight’ informational meeting Saturday

By VICKI TILLIS, Ledger lifestyles editor | Nov 22, 2016

Sharing the Weight, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers sew weighted blankets for children and adults with special needs, is starting a group in Fairfield.

An informational meeting is planned at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Fairfield VFW meeting hall. Attendees will learn basic information about Sharing the Weight and the weighted blankets. The meeting should last about one hour, said Joanne Ancell, who is helping start the local group.

Plans are for training sessions to begin in January. Those sessions will expand on the basic information that will be explained Saturday. Then, blanket-making parties will be scheduled locally, said Ancell.

Sharing the Weight, based in Ottumwa, was organized by Marci Prose. She started the group when her son David was informally diagnosed with autism in 2013; he has since been officially diagnosed. While working with the Area Education Agency, David was given a weighted blanket to help him sleep. According to Prose, the first night, and nearly every night since, David has slept through the night — something that he had not done in his entire 2.5 years of life.

On David’s third birthday, Prose wanted to make three blankets to donate back to the AEA to express her family’s appreciation. For that first blanket-making party, enough material and weighted pellets were donated to make 12 blankets, so Prose’s plans evolved to make blankets until they ran out of donated supplies.

Now, just a few years later, the group has seen hundreds of yards of fabrics and around 10,000 pounds of poly pellets — all donated by caring people and businesses — sewn into the special blankets by volunteers at blanket-making parties and distributed to those who need them.

Each weighted blanket is typically valued at a cost of $100 to $450.

“You don’t have to be able to sew to get involved,” said Ancell.

She explained there are tasks, like taping outlines on the material so others can see where to sew and fill the blankets, that non-sewers can accomplish.

For information about the meeting, call Ancell at 472-4736.

For information about Sharing the Weight, visit the website at www.sharingtheweight.org.

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