LINCOLN (SNR) – The “Joe’s Clover Knights” 4-H club of Lincoln received a Governors Agricultural Excellence Award in 2014 and was named ‘Club of the Month’ for December.
While 4-H is a non-religious affiliated organization, this particular club has 100% membership at St. Joseph Parish in Lincoln.
“Joe’s Clover Knights” is Lancaster County’s largest 4-H club. Starting with six members just seven years ago, the club currently has 86 members from ages 5-14.
As part of the governor’s award, the Nebraska 4-H Foundation and the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority give $500 to 25 clubs each year to be used as described in the award application. Joe’s Clover Knights has received the award twice before for community service projects.
The club had a number of ideas for service projects in 2014, and voted to provide tied-fleece blankets to the less fortunate. The club’s leaders, Anne Johnson and Kelly Neal, called various agencies to see where the club’s gift would help the most. Club members voted to give the blankets to St. Gianna’s Women’s Homes of Catholic Social Services, which assists women and families fleeing domestic violence.
The club spent one meeting in October making 26 blankets. Older 4-H members teamed up with younger members in groups of four, and each group made one or two blankets. They used patterns to cut the corners and edges, then tied the layers together on each side. Blankets ranged in size; suitable for adults or toddlers.
“I really enjoyed making the tied blankets,” said club member Ellie Bunz, “knowing that what we do in 4-H could better someone’s life.”
“It’s amazing to see how generous the club members’ hearts are for giving to others,” said Johnson. “The older 4-H’ers did a fantastic job at guiding and teaching the younger members.”
A group of fifth-graders from the club made an additional 10 blankets outside of club meetings.
“I made those blankets out of love and respect for the children of St. Gianna’s, said fifth-grader Meredith Gaura. “I believe in my heart that every child deserves a nice warm blanket that makes them feel safe. ”
Club members then gathered more than100 gently-used and new children’s books. They tied books to each of the blankets with ribbons as an extra gift to the children at St. Gianna’s. When they delivered the blankets and books to Catholic Social Services, the club members were given a tour of the facility.
“Making and delivering those blankets and books made me feel like a hero when we were done,” said Megan Neal. “I knew what our 4-H club had done with our award money made a big difference to the people that received the blankets and books.”