GREENFIELD — A wind gust here and there was not part of the plan.
More than three hours into their attempt Saturday morning to build the world’s largest blanket fort, members of Greenfield Christian Church’s youth group were folding and sorting blankets in the parking lot of the church, 23 N. East St.
But the piles of hundreds of blankets on the ground represented a mark that was hit, and exceeded, on Saturday — gifts of warmth, made of fleece and cotton and yarn, to be donated to different shelters to help souls in need.
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For months, the Greenfield Christian Church’s youth group has been collecting blankets from community members. They’d planned to build the world’s largest blanket fort, one that would stretch more than 3,300 feet to meet or beat the Guinness World Record. While the fort might have fallen, the spirits of the youngsters who participated never wavered.
“I’m a little disappointed, personally,” said Ender Kyrie, 14, a student in the online Indiana Connections Academy. “(But) we got our main goal done.”
Earlier this year, the church’s youngest members were brainstorming service project ideas. A fort came up jokingly, Megan Schoen said. But the youth group’s adult leaders surprised the teens by agreeing to take the project on.
So, for months, they collected blankets for the fort, blankets that would be donated to homeless shelters and animal shelters after the build. Along the way, they hoped to increase awareness of the issues homeless people face.
The goal was to collect 300 blankets. Many came from Greenfield Christian Church members, and as word spread, more donations came in from across the county. Ender Kyrie and his brother, Ky Kyrie, received some from their Boy Scout troop, No. 770, which meets at St. Michael Catholic Church. Others were dropped off by those visiting the annual Riley Festival in October. Still others donated after reading news reports of the attempt.
Together, donors gave more than 400 blankets, organizers said.
So, they gave it a try Saturday morning, and for three hours, they fought the weather with that ultimate goal of helping others in mind. When the winds proved to be too much, the youth began folding the blankets with plans to wash ones used in the attempt. They’ll drop them off to various area shelters in the coming weeks.
“I feel good about it, because it means more people and more animals are warm,” said Sarah Schoen, 14, a student at Raymond Park Middle School.
“What we’re doing is for a good cause,” said Ky Kyrie, 12. “It’s not every day you can do something that’s really going to help.”
Blankets collected will be distributed to the following shelters: Hancock Hope House in Greenfield, Alternatives in Anderson, Dayspring Center in Indianapolis and Hancock County Animal Control in Greenfield.