American ‘Welcome Blanket’ Gives Homemade Crafts of Love to Refugees, Migrants

Welcome blankets and handmade textiles are meant to be one of the first gifts a person new to the U.S. receives.

Jayna Zweiman started Welcome Blanket in 2017 and the organization crowd-sources blankets and gives them to people migrating to the United States.

“Welcome Blanket is a large-scale art activism project where people across the country and the world are crafting welcome blankets – which are 40 inches by 40 inches, easy to care for and they hurt to give away because the makers love them so much,” Zweiman said. “And they include notes about stories important to their families, about immigration, migration and relocation with words of welcome."

Blankets are displayed in museums around the country.

After the exhibition, they are then boxed up and given to resettlement agencies for their refugee, immigrant, or asylum seeker clients. For many of the blanket creators, immigration hits close to home.

Davida Charpak , a Welcome Blanket maker, told reporters, “my mother-in-law is an immigrant with my husband and my father-in-law, and they came with absolutely nothing."

Welcome blankets and handmade textiles are meant to be one of the first gifts a person new to the U.S. receives.

Anne Faber, another Welcome Blanket maker, told reporters, “I try to design the blankets when I knit them with the thought of somebody basically covering themselves and feeling warm and that they're getting somebody holding them and giving them a hug and keeping them warm."

Patty Margolisand and her granddaughter lent their talents to the project.

"This is our note to the new immigrants that have come to Brookline. We've made a beautiful blanket for you, me and my granddaughter. ‘Welcome to Brookline.'

Our family came from Eastern Europe to avoid prejudice and to live freely,” Patty said.

They may be sewn, knit, or crocheted, but the beautiful welcome blankets are all made with love.

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