WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) — Some folks know her by the moniker the Blanket Lady. Jessica Rudolph has won the hearts of tens of thousands of foster children, by the simple act of giving each one their very own blanket.
Rudolph, Founder and CEO of My Very Own Blanket in Westerville, said that blanket stays with the children as they move from home to home in the foster system.
NBC4 was there as she received an award from the state.
Rudolph has been making and giving out handmade blankets to children in foster care since December of 1999. Friday morning, she received a commendation for giving back to the community.
The award came from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who was a foster child for a short time himself.
Imagine 100,000 blankets given to foster children across the nation. That is what My Very Own Blanket has accomplished with the help of volunteers.
“I’ve heard many stories where foster moms will say the children came to my house right off the hip of the caseworker or right out of the hand and they had nothing,” Rudolph said.
She said if they are not adopted, some foster children move from a dozen to two dozen homes before they age out of the system.
“What we want to do is give them something they can hang onto,” Rudolph said.
My Very Own Blanket’s goal is not to solve the foster children’s problems, just help to comfort them.
“We will help them through each night that may be very dark and lonely; for them when they have to sleep in a new bed, a strange bed, a strange home,” she said.
Rudolph said she has heard from some of the foster children, now adults. “It was the single most important thing that helped me through,” they told her.
“The stories you hear about foster care are true, but there are some good stories out there too. There are good families who love these kids and give them great homes, and then they get adopted,” Rudolph said.
She said most foster children just want a forever family.
“We live in a broken world and what we try and do is to give them something that will help them along their way and give them a little bit of comfort,” Rudolph said. “This blanket becomes their safe. Because they know it, and when their safe (family) is taken from them, this becomes their safe,” she said.
Sewing, knitting, and knotting help is done by volunteers, kids in schools, senior centers, and inmates from four different prisons.
“They love it because 80 percent of inmates have been touched by the foster system in their life.” Rudolph would like to give out 200 more blankets this year, to complete her goal of 10,000.
She is both the Founder and CEO of the nonprofit company. “The Founder is, I believe God gave me the idea to do this, and the CEO part is, he knows I would be foolish enough to continue it for his glory,” she said with a laugh.