Blanket from mom, to all

A touching story turns into an incredible organization: The Penny’s Purpose.

Seniors+Hannah+and+Sarah+Benes+volunteer+at+an+NHS+blanket+making+event+for+The+Pennys+Purpose.

Jacob Slabosz

Seniors Hannah and Sarah Benes volunteer at an NHS blanket making event for The Penny’s Purpose.

April Soulak-Andrews had difficulty coping when her mother, Penny Soulak, passed away in April of 2019. She tried group counseling and grief therapy, but nothing was working. One evening, she participated in a suicide awareness walk, and it was distinctively a cold night on the lakefront.

“I just cannot get warm enough, and I had asked my husband to get me another blanket; he brought me my mom’s blanket, and it was at that moment that I said, ‘I know what I need to do,'” Soulak-Andrews said. 

It was the same blanket her mother had with her throughout her time in hospice. Soulak-Andrews inherited this blanket from her mother after she had passed, leaving it as a sentimental and touching item in her life. 

She then knew that donating blankets to those in need was her ticket to coping with the loss of her mother, leading her to form The Penny’s Purpose organization. She began collecting new and gently used blankets and donating them to those in need. 

Penny Soulak lived a life of giving; she was always contributing to the community even when she did not have much herself. With that in mind, The Penny’s Purpose mission statement was created.

April Soulak-Andrews

“Learn to give, even when blessed with less,” Soulak-Andrews said. 

Blankets are day-to-day necessities. Not only are they used on a regular basis, but many people also hold sentimental value to their blankets, common to comfort a person through a difficult time.

“A blanket is a hug,” Soulak-Andrews said. “It’s a big hug; you grab it, and you feel warm and secure.”

Soulak-Andrews ultimately wanted to provide that feeling of comfort to as many people in need as possible. Some blankets are donated to nursing homes, animal shelters and people facing medical health issues. Every blanket comes with a card containing a short statement that demonstrates the meaning behind the blanket from Soulak-Andrews.

“‘We hugged this blanket, we squeezed it tight, we filled it with our wishes, hope and love,'” the cards say. “‘So when you’re feeling low, just hold it really tight and you’ll feel our love within the morning, noon and night – your friends at Penny’s Purpose.'”

The Penny’s Purpose is a nonprofit organization created to provide blankets to people in need. Soulak-Andrews is following in the footsteps of her mother by giving back to her community in any way possible.

“I feel like every blanket I own is a hug from my mom,” Soulak-Andrews said.

Learning to give to those in need is a valuable lesson. Even when someone does not have much themselves, there is always a way to give back to one’s community.

For individuals looking to assist The Penny’s Purpose, information is listed on www.thepennyspurpose.org.