Coon Rapids High School students tie blankets for homeless teens

Devoting part of a long Thanksgiving weekend to helping those less fortunate, Coon Rapids High School students got together in the school cafeteria Monday afternoon to make fleece tie blankets.

National Honor Society members Sam McNamer and Lexi Plessel (both seniors at Coon Rapids) served as chairpersons for the honor society project.

Larsen Kronstad and Sydney Sturm, Prosper Doe (rear left), Sam McNamer and Lexi Plessel make tie blankets to be donated to the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center for homeless teens. Photo by Sue Austreng

Larsen Kronstad and Sydney Sturm, Prosper Doe (rear left), Sam McNamer and Lexi Plessel make tie blankets to be donated to the HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center for homeless teens. Photo by Sue Austreng

Hoping to tie 50 blankets in a single afternoon and then donate them to the HOPE 4 Youth drop in center for homeless teens, Plessel and McNamer enlisted friends, family and classmates to help out.

“I’m a blanket hog,” said Plessel. “I love to wrap up in blankets. It makes you feel so cozy and warm, but then I realized how much I have and some don’t have any.

“This is a really good cause. Someone will really appreciate this.”

The “someone” she referred to are teens living in their vehicles, under bridges, or sleeping in abandoned buildings.

More than 400 youth have been identified as experiencing homelessness in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

HOPE 4 Youth, located at 2665 Fourth Ave., Anoka, provides free services to teens experiencing homelessness. Those services include hot meals and a food shelf, hygiene products and a shower, clothing, education resources, job search and computer access.

McNamer and Plessel wanted to do what they could to help out, too.

“We did a project earlier, just trying to get people to know about HOPE 4 Youth,” McNamer said. “It really opens your eyes, makes you appreciate what you have. It made us want to do more, so now we’re doing this blanket project.”

The girls and their classmates, family and friends purchased yards of fleece fabric, cut that fleece to size and then tied two layers together to make the blankets.

They plan to bring the blankets to HOPE 4 Youth tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 7) but said they will continue to make tie blankets and donate them to the drop-in center.

“Anyone who wants to give us some fleece or who wants to make tie blankets and give them to us, we’ll make sure those blankets go to HOPE 4 Youth, too,” McNamer said.

Anyone interested in donating fleece, or funds, or blankets they’ve tied themselves can bring those items to Coon Rapids High School, noting that they are for McNamer and Plessel’s National Honor Society project.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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