Senator Kennedy Partners with Kaleida Health, Community Members, and Elected Officials to Launch Fourth Annual Blanket Drive to #WarmUpWNY's Youngest Patients

Timothy M. Kennedy

November 08, 2019

Over the Years, Western New Yorkers Have Donated More Than 30,000 Blankets to Help Ease Anxiety of Hospital Stays and Provide Comfort to Patients During Winter Months

BUFFALO, NY – Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) and New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined John R. Oishei Children's Hospital of Buffalo Foundation Vice President, Andrew Bennett, along with local community and government leaders Thursday night to kick off the fourth year of #WarmUpWNY, a blanket drive designed to bring the comforts of home to our region's youngest patients during hospital stays. The drive began in 2016, after Senator Kennedy learned that simple items like warm blankets and socks can bring much-needed comfort to pediatric patients, but are not a reimbursable expense for the hospital. Due to the high volume of young patients our community’s children’s hospital sees every day, keeping the supply of donated blankets stocked is a challenge, which is why Kennedy decided to step in. Thursday evening’s ‘Blankets N’ Brews’ kickoff party encouraged volunteers to come out and make fleece-tied blankets or donate new blankets at Resurgence Brewery’s new location on Chicago Street in Buffalo. 

“Since our drive began, the City of Good Neighbors has lived up to its name and then some, donating more than 30,000 blankets to our region’s children during what may be the scariest time of their lives,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “The #WarmUpWNY drive is truly a team effort, with donations coming in from everywhere; from my colleagues in government, to Buffalo businesses, to the very people who call our city and region home - it is a collaboration that brings out the best in our community, and I’m thrilled to once again host this drive along with our 40 incredible partners who are serving as drop off locations.”

"The Warm Up WNY Blanket Drive is a great annual event that provides thousands of blankets to children to help ease their recovery in the hospital setting," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "I commend Senator Kennedy for his ongoing efforts and I'm pleased to take part in this program for another year to benefit the Oishei Children's Hospital and its patients. We want to make sure children have the comfort of their own home during their hospital stay, and this community effort helps to achieve that important goal." 

“We are grateful to Senator Tim Kennedy and the entire Western New York community for their continuing support of the patients and families Oishei Children’s Hospital cares for,” said Andrew Bennett, vice president of The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation. “These blankets help patients feel at home during a difficult time. Through the Warm Up WNY drive and the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to have a supply of blankets for patients year-round.” 

According to doctors, nurses, and parents, it’s common for a young patient to become anxious over the uncertainty and unfamiliarity that a trip to the hospital can bring. They say even the smallest and simplest items can remind kids of home and help to calm their nerves. The drive was inspired by the Healing Arts Program at Oishei Children’s Hospital, which aims to provide pediatric patients and families with a physical, mental, and emotional healing experience through integrated cultural collaboration and programming.

Donations will be accepted through March 6, 2020. New or homemade blankets can be dropped off at the collection sites listed below. All sizes are needed for infants up to teens. Due to health concerns, gently used blankets are, unfortunately, not able to be accepted.

Participating locations:

Office of Senator Tim Kennedy - 2239 S. Park Ave, Buffalo

Office of Senator Pat Gallivan - 2721 Transit Rd, Suite 116, Elma

Office of Senator Chris Jacobs - 65 Court St, Rm 213, Buffalo

Office of Senator Mike Ranzenhofer - 8203 Main St, Suite 4, Williamsville

Office of Assemblymember Patrick Burke - 1074 Union Rd., West Seneca

Office of Assemblymember Karen McMahon - 5500 Main St., Suite 102, Williamsville

Office of Assemblymember Monica Wallace - 2562 Walden Ave, Suite 102, Cheektowaga

Office of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz - 95 Franklin St, Buffalo

Office of Lackwanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski - 714 Ridge Rd, Lackwanna

Clarence Public Library for Legislator Ed Rath - 3 Town Pl., Clarence

Office of Town Supervisor Diane Benczkowski - 3301 Broadway, Room 208, Cheektowaga

North Buffalo Community Center for Councilman Joel Feroleto - 203 Sanders Rd, Buffalo

The Mead Library for Councilman Richard Fontana - 126 Ludington St, Buffalo

Richmond Summer Senior Center for Councilman David Rivera - 337 Summer St, Buffalo

Access of WNY - 609 Ridge Rd, Lackawanna

Audubon Branch Library - 350 John James Audubon Pkwy, Amherst

American Medical Response (AMR) - 481 William L. Gaiter Pkwy, Buffalo

Bethel AME Church - 1525 Michigan Ave, Buffalo

Cazenovia Neighborhood Library - 155 Cazenovia St., Buffalo

Cheektowaga Senior Center - 3349 Broadway St, Cheektowaga

Cheektowaga Police Department - 3223 Union Rd, Cheektowaga

Clearfield Branch Library - 770 Hopkins Rd, Williamsville

CWA 1133 - 821 Elk St, Suite A, Buffalo

Daily Planet Coffee House - 1862 Hertel Ave, Buffalo

DMV Locations:

2122 George Urban Blvd, Cheektowaga

1088-B Union Rd (Southgate Plaza), West Seneca

4545 Transit Rd (Eastern Hills Mall), Williamsville

170 Pearl St (Rath Building), Buffalo

2309 Eggert Rd, Tonawanda

Eggerstville-Snyder Branch Library - 4622 Main St, Williamsville

Elim Christian Fellowship - 70 Chalmers Ave, Buffalo

Fruitbelt Coalition - 150 Maple St, Buffalo

Lackawanna Fire Department - 1630 Abbott Rd, Lackawanna

Lackawanna Parent Teacher Network - 135 Martin Rd, Lackawanna

Hamburg Senior Center - 4540 Southwestern Blvd, Hamburg

Northwest Bank - 1248 Abbott Rd, Lackawanna

Steel City Church - *call Jami to arrange donations at 378-9469

Trocaire College - 360 Choate Ave, Buffalo

Undergrounds Coffee House - 580 S. Park Ave, Buffalo

Williamsville Branch Library - 5571 Main St, Williamsville