The Make A Difference Club did just that on Monday morning.
Sixteen students from Carlyle Junior High descended on Carlyle Healthcare Center with 102 colorful fleece blankets they had made -- a few more than the number of residents.
"This one here is school colors," said Bobby Endicott, of a purple and gold one.
"Here's one in Valentine colors," said smiling Jeffrey Holle. "It was pretty fun to do."
"But it was also motivational," said Mitan Desai, a tall, dark-haired kid whose nickname is "Mitten." "It inspired us to do something good for the community. It took us a step beyond."
LuAlice Kampwerth, media specialist and club sponsor, estimated 60 students got involved.
"These 16 couldn't have done it alone," said the teacher who is all about giving back. "If you spark volunteerism when they're young, they're more apt to carry it out and encourage others when they're older. If you provide the opportunity, they flock in."
The club came up with the idea. A grant provided materials. Folks at Hancock Fabrics in O'Fallon got to work early to cut fabric into 1 1/2-yard pieces, said LuAlice.
"Their prices made it possible for us to complete a blanket for everyone.That was huge.
"The kids took it from there."
The middle-schoolers began in earnest Jan. 3, giving up recess to cut fringe and tie together the two-tone blankets.
"We worked four people to a blanket," said Bobby. "The hard part was getting the cutting done. Sometimes, the scissors would give out."
One of the first stops that morning, a Memory Lane gathering room. Students, with help from nurses, took turns introducing themselves and giving residents a choice.
"My name is Jeffrey Holle," said a boy with a blanket in each arm. Which one would you like?"
"Pick you out a blanket, Helen," a nurse urged.
"This is all ours?" said a woman in a blue print top.
"It looks good on you," said Bobby.
As they visited, Mrs. Kampwerth told folks about the club and the $500 Clinton County Electric Cooperative Teacher Grant that funded the project. They earned another $150 from concession stand profits.
"This is the Make a Difference group," she announced. "They stayed in from recess and made 102 blankets."
She helped with connections as students entered rooms, many decorated with photos and plants, some with lace curtains.
You know (third-grade teacher) Mrs. Sinclair?" she said. "This is her dad, Bert." Or, "Hello, Mrs. Richert. We were asked to give you an extra hello." Then, to the kids gathered at the doorway. "Do you know Mrs. Wessel from school? This is her mother."
"She's an awesome PE teacher," said one of the students.
Up and down the halls they went. Staff smiled and gave thumbs up and a "good job." Residents hugged blankets. "Thanks for everything you guys do," said one. "Kindness matters."
Two boys stopped at one doorway to confer.
"Should I do this one? She's asleep."
"Just lay it on her really softly."
Loretta Dorries was tickled pink over a pink blanket.
"I think this is great," said the 83-year-old Carlyle woman. "They are heavy and they are warm."
After Marie Tuel of Junction City, received hers, she grabbed a pencil and pen and then, Mrs. Kampwerth.
"Did you guys make them yourselves?" said Marie. "Good job, guys. I will write you a thank-you note."
Before the visit, Mrs. Kampwerth gave the group three reminders.
"Be on our best behavior. Be kind. Show respect." said Mitan.
"They are good kids," she said. "They don't take too much preparation. I think they are surprising themselves. It's that feeling you can't buy. You earn that kind of feeling."
"We just hope we made a difference," said Nathan Ord, just before getting on the bus back to school. "That's all that matters."
One of the last to receive a blanket was 97-year-old Mae Harp. She looked up as Ben Koopmann approached, then smiled in recognition.
"She was our neighbor when we lived in our first house," said dark-haired Ben. "Whenever she moved here, we bought her house from her."
"I've been here quite a while," said Mae, dressed in a blue paisley sweater alongside a bed piled with pillows. "That's wonderful that they're doing that in school."
Ben had visited before.
"I'm trying to come somewhat often whenever I can. I was pretty young when she lived there."
"In fact, I made a quilt for him," said Mae.
"I am pretty sure you did," said Ben.
The former neighbors figured it may have been a baby quilt. Now, Ben had made her a blanket.
They chatted, then it was time to catch up with classmates. He looked back and smiling Mae held the blanket in one hand and waved with the other.
"See you, Mae."