Cathedral resident crochets for foster children

Christine Stephenson/The Herald
Lori Wigand, left, and Stephanie Sickbert admire one of the blankets that Cathedral Health Care Center resident Gloria Bellner, center, crocheted. The blankets were donated to Borrowed Hearts of Dubois County, an organization that provides basic necessities to foster families.

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — When children begin living with foster families, they often arrive with just a small bag of their belongings, or sometimes with nothing. Being able to claim some belongings of their own, even small ones, can go a long way.

One Cathedral Health Care Center resident is crocheting blankets for local foster children. Gloria Bellner, 81, has always been crafty for as long as she can remember, but none of her old projects have been quite as rewarding.

“This is all I do,” Bellner said, looking over at the bags of blankets she's made. “I like to make them big so the kids are covered.”

The blankets are donated through Borrowed Hearts of Dubois County, a nonprofit that provides clothing, hygiene products and other daily necessities to foster families. The Jasper organization, which just served its first family in March 2020, is a sister store to Borrowed Hearts Foundation in Evansville.

Borrowed Hearts operates like a secondhand store but often donates items to families, too. The organization collects items such as clothing for all ages, baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers and more. Foster parents, Department of Child Services or Court Appointed Special Advocate workers, or relatives who have had a child placed with them can then get the items for the children.

Lori Wigand, a Borrowed Hearts organizer, said that often, items like blankets will be the first thing a foster child will receive and can keep for the rest of their lives. Even the teenagers, who sometimes act like they don’t want one, will end up cuddling with the blankets on the couch at night, some foster parents have told Wigand.

The health care center recently partnered with Borrowed Hearts for the project through Cathedral’s social services director, Kelli Williams, who is connected to similar resources in the community.

Bellner has been at Cathedral since February, and before that ,she had lived at the Timbers of Jasper for several years. She has dementia and her hands tend to shake, but she still manages to crochet like it’s her job, said Stephanie Sickbert, community liaison director at Cathedral.

“This gives her so much purpose, which is sometimes hard to find when you get older,” Sickbert said. “This is her hobby, it’s her favorite thing to do.”




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