UW Combined Fund Drive

April 11, 2024

Combined Fund Drive volunteers make comfort blankets for furry friends at PAWS

Peppa, a resident of PAWS animal shelter, poses on new cozy comfort blankets made by UWCFD volunteers.

Thanks to the wonderful participation of volunteers from across the UW, the UW Combined Fund Drive was able to donate 180 handmade comfort blankets and toys to our furry friends at PAWS animal shelter in Lynnwood. 

In addition to providing shelter for homeless dogs and cats, PAWS also provides relief for animals from disaster zones (often beyond the state) and rehabilitation for sick, injured or orphaned area wildlife.

“As a volunteer for another local animal rescue, I’ve seen firsthand the transformation that can occur when a fluffy blanket is provided to a scared animal who has been forced into a shelter environment,” said volunteer Stephanie Schuster. “I love that I have been able to work with the Combined Fund Drive to make sure that any animal who is rescued by PAWS gets access to fluffy comfort blanket.” 

Colorful menagerie of blankets 

The UWCFD team delivered blanket-making kits to partners across campus and, on Valentine’s Day, led an in-person instructional session on Zoom. Volunteers, working solo and in groups, in-person and online, cut-and-tied piles and piles of “no-sew” fleece blankets. 

Hannah Murphy, Annie Krepack and Chloe Mills of the UW Employee Experience team prepare colorful blanket-making kits.

It was fun to check the mailbox every day for delivery of this colorful menagerie of homemade blankets, bearing designs and prints that ranged from giraffes to Ramen, from sea creatures to Seattle Mariners. We were excited to see the creativity of volunteers on full display! 

Then, in March, the project culminated with UWCFD staff delivering 180 blankets, 10 chew toys and 12 catnip sachets to the shelter. The blankets will serve as comfort items for the dogs and cats in the shelter—and accompany them to their fur-ever homes.

“The blankets that the UWCFD created and provided for the cats and dogs of PAWS will ensure that they remain cozy and comfortable while waiting for their purr-fect fur-ever families to walk through the doors of the shelter,” said Bailey Serica, education manager at PAWS. “It is incredibly important that these items of comfort are provided for the animals as being in a shelter environment can be incredibly stressful. We will often send these blankets home with their adoption families so they have something that is already their own! A giant thank you to the entire UWCFD family!” 

Comfortable creativity 

The Valentine’s Day blanket-making event, a tradition that started during the pandemic, has grown into one of the most popular hybrid events that the UWCFD offers. 

It’s a unique event both because it is hybrid and because of the opportunity it affords participants to get crafty and creative. 

Stash, a feline friend in residence at PAWS, enjoys a new soft rainbow blanket.

Volunteer Jeanny Mai found the event the perfect opportunity to combine her love of animals and crafting. “This event inspired me,” she said. “I visited a friend’s place of business (an apparel company) where they have a bin of fabrics and clothing that are being sent to donation or recycling.  I pulled out a bunch of fleece to make dozens of these blankets to donate in my own time.” 

“I love making fleece blankets for shelter animals,” added Stephanie Schuster. “Whether working on them in the office between meetings, as a way to stay focused while on a Zoom call, while on a road or airplane trip, or while watching TV on my couch—it is such an accessible project that really anyone can do wherever they are.” 

And no experience or skill is necessary. “The blankets were a perfect craft for those of us who aspire to be expert crafters but don’t have the skills to do intricate crafts,” said volunteer Jordan Epp. “It gave us the perfect opportunity to learn an easy craft, bond with others and help our animals.” 

Thanks to our volunteers! 

We are delighted to provide an opportunity to connect through crafting and make a paw-sitive impact on the lives of local shelter animals in our community. And we sincerely thank every volunteer for bringing a little comfort to animals in need!

It’s not too late to help 

If you’d like to support the vital work of PAWS, consider making a one-time donation or setting up a recurring monthly gift through payroll deduction. Or you can support PAWS through the UWCFD (charity code: 0329960). 

PAWS accepts pet blankets year-round, and it’s a fun and easy craft project to do with friends or by yourself. No experience? No problem. Here’s how to make a no-sew fleece blanket. Or watch this video, produced by Seattle Humane (charity code: 0314982): 

If you would like to join in next year’s blanket making, stay up to date through the UWCFD newsletter or by visiting our website for registration in early January.