Officers warm community with handmade blankets

Posted at 12:24 PM, Dec 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-18 13:24:54-05

It started with a simple idea.

"I just wanted to get everyone together to do something nice for people over the holidays," Matthew Ninham, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) Criminal Justice instructor. 

Now, his project has become something much bigger.

"Community members get to know the police officers and firefighters and emergency personnel, and the police officers, the emergency personnel, they also get to know the people that they're serving," Ninham explained.

Six years ago, as an Oneida Police Officer, Ninham started a project to make blankets for people in the community during the holidays.

"For some people, the Christmas holiday is a tough time, especially for single moms or single families and people just trying to make miracles happen for their kids," Ninham said.

This year, he brought the project to NWTC for the first time. Students, faculty and officers from a few different departments came to help. 

"When people sit down together at a table, and make a fleece blanket, what do they do? They talk," Ninham said. "They get to know each other. Your local cop gets to know kids from the community."

For officers, it's a heartwarming experience.

"It gives a good opportunity for us to get out and meet people and create a positive experience with people because a lot of times when the officers are going somewhere it's for a bad reason," Lastiklanunha Hill, and Oneida Police Officer. 

The fifty blankets go to domestic violence shelters and hospitals, or are given away as random acts of kindness.

"It makes your heart grow that much bigger," said Ninham.

Keeping the community warm during the holidays.