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  • Reaching for the stars

    Residents project to help children comes with unseen challenges

    Reaching for the stars- horizontal
    Melissa Miller, crocheted star shaped blankets for children in need. Photo By Emily Rogers
    Reaching for the stars- horizontal

    Melissa Miller, crocheted star shaped blankets for children in need. Photo By Emily Rogers

    One Chestermere resident is tirelessly working towards donating homemade crocheted star blankets to children in need.

    Mother, wife, and full-time finance manager, Melissa Miller first began her journey of practicing the art of crocheting when she was 11.

    She started off with small projects, including scarfs for people in need during the winter.

    Crocheting had always been something that Miller did in her spare time to relax after a hectic day of looking after her family and working a full-time job.

    She decided to use her method of relaxing and destressing to help others in and around her community, adding she doesn’t need 50 blankets in her home.

    “I just want to make a kid happy,” she said.

    Miller took to the “I love Chestermere” Facebook page to write about her initiative of donating to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

    However, a few days later Miller found out that the Alberta Children’s Hospital doesn’t allow donations from a household with dogs.

    “I was initially devastated when I read from my friend’s text who works at the children’s hospital that they can only accept blankets from both smoke free and pet free homes.

    “I mean it all makes sense when you think about it,” Miller said.

    With that setback on her plans to donate the blankets, Miller is looking for another worthwhile charity to donate blankets too, such as the Children’s Cottage or the Ronald McDonald House.

    The idea of donating star shaped blankets first begun when Miller had a request to make a similar blanket for a family.

    “The star shape is symbolic, [the star] can represent hope, children’s lives that have been lost, or just light in a child’s life,” Miller said.

    “In my eyes it’s a win-win situation. I get to do what I love and still get to donate to a cause I believe in,” she added.

    “This is a new idea I’m passionate about, and it’s been well received so far,” she said.

    Now any spare time Miller once had is now taken up with working on the star blanket project.

    She doesn’t have the time during the day to work on the blankets, however, she does make time during the evening when her household is winding down. Miller is able to crochet for approximately three hours.

    “I plan on making as many as I can with the majority of my spare time,” she said.

    “The other challenge is the cost. The purchase of soft yarn does not come at a cheap price.

    “The ones I’m working on now are $11.99 a roll, and for a newborn star blanket you are looking at just over a roll of material,” she said.

    “I just want to make a kid happy,” she said. “I don’t mind the time it takes, but it does add up.”

    Miller’s ultimate goal is to create star shaped blankets for older children in need, however, that goal will more challenging as the project will take longer to complete and cost more in materials.

    Miller has been working on making 10 blankets for children by August and is now getting more requests for star blankets by the day.

    She has a request to make a star blanket for an eight-year-old, which Miller said will take her four times as long to finish rather than a newborn star blanket.

    “The best part is making it happen. I love children and want nothing more than to make a difference in someone’s life.

    “Even if it is just for a few seconds that they see the blanket and know that someone made it by hand and was thinking of them,” Miller said.

    Miller added, she wants to branch out and donate to as many charities that she can, including donating blankets for memory boxes for young children that have passed away.

    Miller has posted on Facebook that she is going to sell the blankets that have already been made for the children at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and donate the funds to the hospital instead.

    Anyone who wants to donate baby soft yarn for a star shaped blanket that Miller will make and donate to a charity in your name please contact her at melissa@powerbymiller.com.