By Megan Nadeau- Staff Writer

Vicki Noel in Mantor Library filling the case with  blanket that she has already received for the  drive

Vicki Noel in Mantor library filling the case with
blanket that she has already received for the
drive (Courtesy of Megan Nadeau)

Starting at the end of November and continuing into the month of January, Mantor Library will be collecting blankets, afghans, quilts, shawls, preemie hats and baby sets that will be donated and delivered to Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) for the patients in need.
The program, “Keep ‘Em Covered,” was created by the Mantor Library staff in order to give back to the community.  Vicki Noel, the head donation coordinator, is excited to start yet another year with the University of Maine at Farmington campus and Farmington Community.
“More participation the better,” said Noel, “I touch base with FMH each year and they are always willing to take our stuff, and they go right directly to FMH.”
The pieces that are created by the UMF staff and the Farmington community are donated to patients who the Franklin Memorial Staff feel will benefit from it.  “Our assumption is that the patients take these home, if they’re on a long hospital stay and might need them, and then they take them home with them,” said Noel.
The pieces that are donated do not, however, need to be homemade.  “Sometimes we have people go to local craft fairs and buy things to donate,” said Noel.  “You do not need to have any real skills with the needle.”
This year, Noel is hopeful for this year’s drive and is eager to fill the whole display case that can be seen when you enter the Mantor Library.   “Well we say our goal is to fill the case, if we fill it I am happy,” said Noel.
Last year, “Keep ‘Em Covered” collected 35 different pieces to send to the hospital.
Students are also encouraged to participate, even if they are financially tight for cash.  “Anyone who wants to participate and can’t afford the materials can contact me and we can make arrangements,” said Noel, “sometimes we have people donate yarn to us and we can offer it out to students.”
As Noel began to fill the display case, each piece individually placed with delicate care, her commitment to the program was evident not just by the care she displayed, but by the smile it brought to her face.  “It is really kind of fun,” said Noel, “the more participation, the merrier.”
Alyssa Carignan, a junior at UMF, was excited to hear about the “Keep ‘Em Covered” drive taking place on campus.  “I think this is a good way to help the community, and the members of the hospital,” said Carignan. “I am excited to make a tie fleece blanket for the drive, since I haven’t had a chance to make one.  It’s even better that it gets to help someone in need to stay warm for this cold season ahead.”
Those that are interested in creating or buying something to donate to the drive are asked to drop the piece off at the front desk located in Mantor Library.  Anyone who is unable to make the deadline is still asked to drop off his or her piece when it is finished. “Do not be afraid to still bring something in, we can get it to the hospital sooner rather than later, and it can just roll over into next winters drive,” said Noel.
With many donations already accepted, Noel is happy to see how the drive will turn out this year, hoping to help as many people in the Farmington Community stay warm for the cold winter ahead.