ABINGTON (CBS) – They call them “Kindness Blankets” and for a local family, they’re helping turn tragedy into triumph.
It’s a simple idea, but one that’s difficult to achieve; letting people know you care.
When three Abington sisters lost their mother to suicide, that idea became part of their healing.
“She was just so nice. She was honestly one of the best moms ever. It’s a shame that she’s not here, because she should be here still,” says 16-year-old Christina Varney, talking about her mother Anne Varney who was just 36 when she took her own life two years ago.
“My first year after my mom passed away, I was very lost,” adds 18-year-old Angela Varney.
So Angela, Christina and 7-year-old Mia Varney, with the help of their aunt Barbara Buckley, decided to honor the way their mother helped others.
“This is a kindness campaign. Definitely. Giving back, paying it forward,” Angela says.
They created “Annie’s Kindness Blankets” which are homemade, fleece blankets they give away to people who might need a hug of sorts.
“The best part is they’re comfy and when you wrap them around, it feels like you’re filled with kindness,” Mia says.
They started at the kitchen table and gave their blankets to kids in the hospital. Then something extraordinary happened. Other people joined the effort, creating blanket making events, and the kindness spread.
They’ve given out nearly 1,000 blankets to children, homeless people, people battling depression or dealing with tough times.
“They feel the kindness all around them. I mean, strangers are sending these to strangers to help them understand they’re never alone,” says Barbara Buckley, the sisters’ aunt.
All the work is done in Annie’s name.
“I think she would have wanted this. I think she’s really happy right now with what we’re doing,” says Christina.
“Once we started making blankets and I saw people smiling and stuff in honor of her, it’s made me and the rest of my family heal,” adds Angela.
The family started making the blankets a year and a half ago.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise money to buy the materials they need.
“It’s filled with happiness and love,” says Mia.