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Local Woman Sews For Needy Children

By Staff | Dec 6, 2017
Janice McMullen sits at her sewing machine making blankets for needy children.
Pictured are just a few of the blankets sewn together by Janice McMullen

Often in life, something good and positive comes out of a tragedy. In 2015, Beau Patterson was serving in the military in California. It was Christmas time, and Beau told his parents to not send him anything for Christmas because it was hard to have or keep things with in his situation in the military. Instead, Beau told his family to find some children that were in need and donate to them instead. At the time, his mother, Tracy, was living and working in Parkersburg, WV, and she was told about the Arthur N Gustke Shelter for Youth in that city. This shelter is a place that houses children between the ages of 6-18 years old that have been removed from their homes where the environment is not good or safe for them. It is a shelter in the night…a safe place for them. The usual stay is 2-3 weeks before they are placed elsewhere.

On Feb. 10, 2017, the mother of Beau was devastated by the news that her son had passed away. A few months after Beau’s death, relatives began a mission to help the children staying in the shelter in memory of Beau. Thus began the blanket ministry by Janice McMullen, of Middlebourne, and her family. McMullen is Beau’s great aunt and she purchases fleece material and makes blankets for the children that are brought to the shelter. The children come to the shelter with nothing, usually just the clothes they are wearing, but each child is allowed to pick out a blanket and it is theirs to keep and take with them when they leave. To date, McMullen has made well over 60 blankets. She has also been known to give them to local children who have a need or have been through a difficult situation. Each blanket has a tag that says “In Fond Memory of Beau Patterson, March 3, 1993 – February 10, 2017”. The children at the shelter are also schooled during their stay, so any donations of school supplies are welcomed. Several people besides family have made donations. Anyone wanting to make a monetary donation toward this worthy effort, or a donation of fleece, school supplies, games, personal care items or Christmas gifts for the children would be well received. Donations can be made by writing to Janice McMullen on Facebook or by calling 304-758-4403.