Natasha Swanson, a member of the Boone County-Iowa State University Extension 4-H, formed a group of interested people to make 70 fleece blankets for children in Russian orphanages. Natasha knows how cold it is in Russia and what it’s like to live in a Russian orphanage.
“My life in a Russian orphanage started when I was 10,” said Natasha. “It was cold there and the sun barely came out during the winter.” In 2002, Natasha attended Camp Hope in Iowa, a camp for Russian orphans, and was adopted later that year by an American family. When Natasha saw a fleece blanket at her American grandmother’s house, “I thought, 'If Grandma could show me how to make the blankets, I could send some to children in the Russian orphanage that I lived in,'” she said.
Natasha and her grandmother made four blankets the first day, and then Natasha began soliciting donations of money and material to reach an initial goal of 30. She ended up raising more than $700, and with the help of relatives, friends, 4-H members, and a local church group, she has been able to send 70 blankets to Russia so far.
“I hope the children in Russia will enjoy their blankets for many years to come,” she said.