When she announced they were doing a Make-a-Blanket fundraiser, Sherline Romph wasn't sure how many people would come out. It turned out to be a memorable Saturday, though, and the start of what hopes to be an annual event.
The fundraiser was for Miracles 4 Margaret, the nonprofit Romph founded after a 2009 car accident paralyzed her daughter, Margaret, from the neck down.
Because of her spinal cord injury, Margaret couldn't regulate her body temperature, so she always felt cold, no matter the temperature. She wore blankets draped over her everywhere she went.
Margaret died in 2019, but the nonprofit continues to provide blankets for numerous causes.
"We sent out fliers and did social media posts, and we ended up with not only our friends but people I didn't know so it's great," Romph said. "Some even brought their own material to work with, and that was great. They may not have known her, but they heard about her story so they wanted to come out."
Nearly 60 people came to the event at Capital Ritz on Plaza Drive and made 39 blankets. Three boxes of materials for future blanket making were also donated.
One of those making blankets was one of Margaret's best friends, Grace Farris, of Jefferson City.
"I means a lot to me to be here right now, and I still get emotional about her," Farris said. "Sometimes, good things happen to me, and I feel like she is there with me."
Romph and Farris talked about how they would have sleepovers in the hospital with Margaret and laughed at how one time they spilled glitter all over one of Margaret's blankets, which they said she thought was hilarious.
"Seeing Margret's friends here means so much to me because a lot of times when you lose a child you, you also lose your child's friends, and I have been so blessed to continue to have them in my life," Romph said.
Also at Saturday's event was Beth Ayers, who was Margaret's homebound teacher for two years, and she too shared emotional memories of her time with Margaret.
"I tell people that Margaret was at the age where you learn there's more than yourself," Ayers said. "She was blossoming into a young woman, thinking about giving to others. So being able to do this for others is very important to me."
Generally, Romph buys the material for blankets, then she, her mother and her best friend sew them.
To simplify the effort, those made Saturday were "rag-tie" blankets, which don't require sewing.
When necessary, Romph, president of the nonprofit, travels to St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield to deliver blankets.
Miracles 4 Margaret also donates blankets to the Pregnancy Help Center in Jefferson City once a quarter, when the center holds a baby shower for its clients. Each new baby receives a blanket.
The nonprofit has provided blankets to victims of domestic violence.
People across the nation are finding comfort in the blankets.
And the nonprofit goes through a lot of them. Romph wasn't sure where the blankets made Saturday would be going.
"We've delivered 200 blankets to the OU Children's Hospital in Oklahoma, and 50 blankets went to MU Children's Hospital," she said. "We're going to take a couple of trips this summer, and we're going to call places along the way to see if we can reach out to children's hospitals. It just depends on where the needs are."
Tax-deductible donations are always welcome. They may be sent to Miracles 4 Margaret, P.O. Box 105762, Jefferson City, MO, 65110. Romph is also willing to pick up material donations and those wishing to do that can call her at 573-230-1409.