Imagine a family facing a cold wintry night of steadily dropping temperatures with no blanket on the bed. Picture children huddled together in the same bed, asleep in their school clothes in an attempt to stay warm throughout the night. In a day and age where many enjoy a blanket of some kind draped over each piece of furniture, in several rooms of their homes, there are families right here in Orange County, shivering through the night without so much as one blanket to share.

The “Blanket of Hope Drive” is being extended through the first week in March due to local need. The drive is a partnership effort between Orange Christian Services (OCS) and Orange County Team One of the 2012-13 Class of Leadership Southeast Texas (LSET).

The mission of Orange Christian Services is “to bring a message of mercy and hope and a measure of love and peace through sharing the blessings of food and other resources with those in need, demonstrating a unifying, servant hearted and community-building expression of God’s love in action in Orange County.”

The mission of LSET is “to promote better understanding of the nine counties that comprise Southeast Texas… Every class of LSET leaders from all sections of the region learns about complex issues that face our area. LSET programs examine the strengths, weaknesses, obstacles and opportunities for economic development, regional unity and quality of life.”

Each LSET team takes on a community project once they complete their classes.

“You have to pick a project that you would either do something for someone or a group in need or a beautification project,” said Lynae Sanford of the Lutcher Theater, one of the team one members.

Orange County has two teams. Team one chose to hold a blanket drive.

“We started around Christmas and asked people to bring a new or gently used blanket and we had several drop off places,” said Sanford. The need is so great; they decided to extend the drive.

According to Judy Jensen, executive director of OCS, their organization services 800-900 Orange County families, (between 2100-2200 individuals) per month. OCS offers food and clothing as well as other items, like blankets, for those in need.

Jensen stated that there is a definite need and always a shortage of blankets. Individuals who might receive clothing rarely obtain blankets, as there is not an adequate supply from which to distribute.

Sanford said when team one brought the first of almost 200 blankets collected; there were only one or two on the shelf at OCS.

Cold months and freeze warning alerts are not over for Southeast Texas. Knowing the blankets collected so far only covers one fourth of the number of families serviced each month by OCS the team decided to extend the deadline for donations through the first week in March and hope the public will participate to help keep local families warm.

Other members of team one include: Blaine Callier- Orange Savings Bank; Mary Lancaster-Entergy; Ciara Read-Advantage Testing; Chris Henderson-Gerdau Steel; and Mike King-Bridge City ISD.

Those wishing to donate may drop off blankets at various collection sites, throughout Orange County during each site’s regular business hours. Drop-off sites include Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts, 707 Main, Orange; Bridge City ISD Administration Building, 1031 West Roundbunch, Bridge City, behind the Elementary School; Orange Savings Bank, Orange-812 North 16th St, Orange; and Orange Savings Bank-Vidor, 960 North Main, Vidor.

Anyone needing a blanket can contact Orange Christian Services and proceed with the client application process. For more information about obtaining blankets and other items, Orange County residents can call 409-886-0938.