Throughout February WNED|WBFO is recognizing everyday citizens of Western New York who are doing amazing things in their communities. Our “Making a Difference” project emphasizes the importance of volunteerism and encourages others to lend a helping hand. Here is the story of a community champion who is making a difference.
“Thank you so much,” said a grateful mother for a handmade fleece blanket for her baby girl.
“You’re welcome,” replied Kwentin Foster.
“Thank you, buddy. Can I give you a hug?” asked the baby’s father. “Thank you so much.”
These parents are among a group of families involved with Hunter’s Hope, receiving fleece blankets that 10-year-old Kwentin made just for sick kids.
“It makes me feel good, obviously,” said Kwentin. “Like, I couldn’t really explain emotions, but it does make me feel amazing. It makes my day sometimes.”
Kwentin began making blankets for sick children as part of a community project, and he hasn’t stopped since. Last year, Kwentin made 400 blankets. They went to kids at places like Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Ronald McDonald House, and Make-a-Wish.
“When I was done with my schoolwork, I did nothing. So I wanted to use that energy to do good in the community,” said Kwentin.
Kwentin pays for the fleece a nickel at a time by returning cans and bottles for the deposit. Each blanket costs nearly $20 to make. Once he has cash in hand, he heads to the fabric store.
“You want the glow-in-the-darks?” asked Kwentin’s mom as they browsed through fleece at the store.
“Yeah, I like the glow-in-the-darks because it’s cool for the kids,” said Kwentin.
Kwentin’s passion has grown into a family affair with his mother and grandmother helping with some of the basics. His mother, Adrian, measures and cuts the fleece.
“He’s learning that there are kids that are a lot less fortunate than him,” said Adrian. “We still have more than some and we have our health, and we’re able to be home together at night as a family. And this, right here, teaches him that not everybody has that chance.”
His family started a Facebook page to spread the word about Kwentin’s Blankets for Sick Kids.
Hunter’s Hope recently joined the growing list of organizations asking for blankets. The group was founded by former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, after their son, Hunter, was diagnosed with Crabbe’s disease. Kelly, himself, was grateful for Kwentin’s thoughtfulness.
“It doesn’t take adults to, to get it,” said Kelly. “And Kwentin definitely gets it, and it just shows you how a young kid gives back.”
And for one mother, the made-with-love blanket was priceless.
“For him to go out and spend time and his time away from sports or anything else to make my precious girl a blanket is just amazing,” said Kathleen Smith. “He’s never even met her. It’s such a selfless act. We’re honored to have met him.”
Kwentin’s grandmother, Kathy Foster, said it all started with a pile of fabric. Who knew Kwentin would end up making such a difference?
“The joy in Kwentin’s face, that he actually got to see some of the recipients of his blankets,” said Kathy, talking about Kwentin’s visit with families from Hunter’s Hope. “When he got done, he’s like, that was fun. So this was big, this was big for him to make a big impact. But my heart is touched, definitely, definitely. He’s a good kid.”
Listen to WBFO throughout February for more stories of people who are Making a Difference in Western New York.
Watch the Making a Difference TV documentary on WNED-TV tonight at 9pm and find out more online at wned.org/making a difference.
You can also watch the program on WNED--TV at the following times:
Saturday, February 6th @ 10:30pm
Sunday, February 7th @ 5:00pm
Tuesday, February 16th @ 7:30pm