Over 20 people congregated Monday evening in the Intercultural Student Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato, to make tie blankets for Convivencia Hispana, a local organization created to help advocate for the Latino community by a group of co-workers at Smithfield Foods in St. James.
Convivencia Hispana is run by volunteers and helps with issues, such as education, and works to build solidarity for the Hispanic and Latinx community. The organization currently advocates throughout the state for the Latino community as well as helping out with community events.
The atmosphere at the blanket event was laid back with pizza, candy, and snacks available for volunteers to take and enjoy.
The tie blankets were made by layering two layers of material together, cutting the edges into strands, and then tying the strands together. Volunteers took time cutting and tying the fabric provided to them to make the blankets.
Luis Orozco, a senior at MSU and president of the Latino Wellness club on campus, organized the blanket making event to help give back to the community based on an event he attended as a sophomore.
“Since it’s my last semester, it’s a way to give back to the community,” Luis Orozco said.
The first blanket making event Orozco attended at MSU was a simple stress relief, but it gave him the idea to organize the event and donate to a local organization.
For Orozco, this was a way for him to give back to his community and to an organization that provided him a scholarship when he was a senior in high school. Convivancia Hispana has also helped him throughout his college career.
“I just thought it would be a nice way to partner up with them. They have a group of elderly, like an elderly group, and so we would just collaborate and have the students make it for them,” Orozco said.
MSU freshman Maria Mendez explained that she attended because she saw the purpose behind the event was to help out the elderly in the community.
“It just feels good to help and do something in return for the community. Many elderly don’t have family members to visit them in the nursing homes,” said Mendez.
The event was planned near Valentine’s Day so the blankets could be used as gifts. Because of this, participants attended for a variety of reasons.
Lisbeth Magdaleno-Garcia, a senior at MSU, attended the event to help give back to the community.
“I actually think this is really kind of fun and enjoyable. I also love crafting,” Magdalene-Garcia added.
Leann Valle, a junior business major, came to learn blanket making and to help Latino Wellness.t “I want to take part in blanket making and donating to the people,” Valle said.
After seeing the success from the event, Orozco said that he hoped it could be held again in the future.