The AFA Project: Beginnings
told by Kate Johnson Burroughs

The AFA Project began one night in 2001, when my daughter Nala was only 6 years old. She was in first grade, at Northwood Elementary School in Ames, Iowa. One evening, she shared with her dad and me a story about a third-grade boy at her school, Angel Diaz. Angel had inoperable brain cancer. The school was planning a fundraiser for Angel's family, and Nala, who'd always been a sensitive and caring child, wanted very much to help with the fundraising effort. She was sad, because after counting the pennies and nickels in her piggy bank, she had only $1.23 to donate.

She asked me if there was anything that we could donate to the fundraiser. Even though I scrounged around under couch cushions and turned out my pockets, and found a few more dollars to add to her collection, I told Nala that I didn't think we had anything that would be good enough to donate to the auction. Nala suggested that I make a blanket for the fundraiser. I had recently learned how to crochet. I considered my available resources and told her that I didn't think I would be able to crochet a blanket with the meager scraps of yarn I had on hand. I was a student at Iowa State University at the time, and my husband drove a bus for the city's transit department. With one income and two small children squeaked by from week to week and we didn't have much ourselves. There just wasn't money for luxuries like brand new yarn.

Nala smiled, and as if inspired by wisdom granted to her by a higher power, suggested that her mom ask her "friends" from internet & online crafting newsgroups if they might have any extra yarn or squares that they could send.



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Kate Johnson
Kate Johnson Burroughs, Coordinator of the Afghans for Angel Project