Ford students hold second annual blanket drive

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 20, 2016

 Henry Ford II High School juniors Meagan VerVaecke, left, and Nikki Sorgi sit with blankets similar to the ones that were dropped off to an Ann Arbor children’s hospital last month as part of a charity blanket drive.

Henry Ford II High School juniors Meagan VerVaecke, left, and Nikki Sorgi sit with blankets similar to the ones that were dropped off to an Ann Arbor children’s hospital last month as part of a charity blanket drive.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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STERLING HEIGHTS — A pair of sisters and some of their allies at Utica Community Schools recently uncovered the results of their holiday blanket drive for sick children.

Nikki Sorgi, a Henry Ford II High School junior, said she helped run the blanket drive with her sister, Alex Sorgi, who graduated from Ford in 2015. With the help of the Eric Hartwell Foundation, the sisters dropped off donated blankets to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. On Dec. 23, the sisters, accompanied by other Ford students, supplied the hospital with almost 150 donated blankets.

Nikki Sorgi said she heard that they and their families were appreciative of the donations.

“We didn’t get to interact with them directly, but we were able to give them the blankets,” she said.

Alex Sorgi originally started the blanket drive when she was a senior in 2014. That year, Alex and Nikki decided to make a blanket for another Ford student, Stefan Oncia, who was battling cancer. Oncia passed away before the blanket was finished, but the Sorgi sisters gave the blanket to Oncia’s mother at a basketball game that was played to help fight cancer.

From that experience, the Sorgis were determined to do a charitable activity that could impact both older and younger kids with serious illnesses. So they raised money at school and acquired material to make around 65 blankets that year, which went to the charity Kids Kicking Cancer.

This school year brought about another blanket drive. Ford’s National Honor Society had a special day for members to gather and make blankets. The Sorgis also made some blankets at home. Together with some additional donated blankets from Bemis Junior High School’s life skills class, the blanket drive received a total of almost 150.

Nikki Sorgi said a blanket could vary in size and explained that some were 1 yard by 1 yard, while others were 2.5 yards by 2.5 yards. Cutting the material and tying a blanket together can take anywhere from around 20 to 45 minutes to complete, depending on the help available, she said.

Ford teacher Jason Sinning, who advises Ford’s NHS, said several NHS members helped by giving donations toward blanket materials, and 15-30 students helped make blankets.

“The Sorgi sisters totally took this project on without any of my involvement,” Sinning said.  “They came and asked me if they could do a blanket drive, and I just provided a place to turn in donations and make the blankets.”

Nikki Sorgi said she hopes to continue the blanket drive next year.

“My brother will be a freshman at Ford next year, and I’ll be a senior,” she said. “So we’re hoping to pass the tradition on and keep going.”

Learn more about Utica Community Schools by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.

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