Sarasota girls group sews 113 blankets to keep animals warm at Nate's Honor Animal Rescue.
Tylee Giorgio, a 10-year-old member of Sarasota's Girls Inc., had her paws wrapped around a puppy at Nate's Honor Animal Rescue in Lakewood Ranch.
In turn, the puppy was wrapped in one of 113 blankets (58 for dogs, 55 for cats) the girls group made to provide warmth for both dogs and cats at Nate's during the winter months.
As Giorgio giggled and the puppy twisted and turned, media cameramen circled around both, snapping away.
"We are helping to spread the word," Giorgio said of her group's trip to Nate's on Feb. 1.
It actually was a collaboration between Nate's and Girls Inc., that was made to happen by Elimindi, a women's apparel company that boasts of having 100% of its products made in the United States.
Annie Wilson, the chief development officer for Elimindi and a resident of Esplanade, wanted to find a way for her company to give back to the community. She brought together Girls Inc. and Nate's.
Karen Slomba, the associate director of Nate's, said her nonprofit has accepted donations from groups, such as the Girl Scouts, before, but never has aligned itself directly with a group as it has done in this case with Girls Inc., which is dedicated to teaching girls life and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.
The seven girls who made the trip Feb. 1, along with about eight others who worked on the project, used plenty of math skills when it came time for making the blankets. Nate's had requested the blankets be made to fit inside the margins of the Kuranda beds, which are designed to help dogs and cats sleep a few inches off the cold floor. The blankets would provide additional warmth.
Elimindi provided the supervisory personnel to help the Girls Inc. fifth graders and purchased the materials. The girls in turn learned planning and design skills, how to mark the patterns to maximize fabric yield and how to efficiently made a high volume of blankets.
"We want to make the dogs more comfortable in the winter," Giorgio said.
Slomba said it does get a little chilly in some of the kennels during the winter and noted Nate's was thrilled to get such a donation that involved a lot of time and effort.
The girls had their run of the facility after handing over the blankets.
Elimindi will continue its support of both nonprofits with a boutique at the Esplanade Golf & Country Club amenity center, 5240 Esplanade Blvd., Lakewood Ranch at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10 and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13. Of the sales, 15% will be donated to Nate's or Girls Inc., as decided by the buyer.