Rialto woman leads team that makes blankets shawls, hats to comfort the terminally ill

Great story found in the Redlands Daily Facts:


RIALTO – For Kathy Seidenberg and her team of volunteers, colorful yarn and the clicking of crochet hooks is about love.

The comfort covers they crochet are “prayer blankets” for the terminally ill to wrap themselves with care.

And the prayers?

In every stitch.

Kathy Seidenberg, Director of Comfort Covers Ministry, displays her blankets Tuesday at her home in Rialto. (LaFonzo Carter/Staff Photographer)

“There was a 10-year-old girl with leukemia and we gave a blanket to her. She was at a barbecue and wouldn’t go outside because she had no hair and the other kids were making fun of her. That’s when we started making hats, too,” said Seidenberg, founder and director of Comfort Covers Ministry, creators of Prayer Blankets.

Volunteer Maria Vargas said she especially enjoys making the hats for the little ones.

In memory of her mother-in-law, Seidenberg founded her comfort covers ministry at Blessed John XXIII church to provide blankets, shawls and hats to the terminally ill.

“My mother-in-law, who I called `Mom,’ received a prayer blanket from a ministry at her church in New York and as her health began to decline, the blanket was her constant companion,” said Seidenberg, who started her own ministry last spring.

Kathy Seidenberg, Director of Comfort Covers Ministry, displays one of her “forest floor” blankets Tuesday at her home in Rialto. (LaFonzo Carter/Staff Photographer)

Her mom, Susan Seidenberg, passed away last December and the prayer blanket was buried with her.

The ministry has given out 14 blankets or shawls to three people at a nursing home, two kidney dialysis patients, a stroke victim and six cancer patients, including a 6-year-old boy with brain cancer.

The nonprofit, which first met in May, made 40 blankets in July, along with shawls, knit hats and Prayer Bears.

“I pray and say lots of rosaries over every blanket I make,” said volunteer Carmen Felix.

“We are making these for sick people who need them,” Felix said.

In the Rialto home Seidenberg shares with her husband, Bob, and her dogs Brandy and Oscar, there is a room devoted exclusively to all things yarn.

Blankets, shawls, hats and other gifts are stacked neatly in a bookcase lining a wall. Yarn skeins are stacked according to color on their own shelves.

For Seidenberg, it’s all about giving and helping those in need. She and her husband are funding the materials, and even discount yarns have totaled more than $500 this month, she said.

Seidenberg, herself, is terminally ill.

She suffers from Churg Strausse Syndrome, a blood vessel disorder, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fiber Myalgia – all painful conditions.

She recently completed the Forest Floor, a 5-foot by 4-foot crocheted symphony of greens, tans and browns.

On Saturday, the Forest Floor blanket will be raffled off at the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association Forest Festival.

The festival is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Barton Flats Visitors Center, on Highway 38. The volunteer group is now at 82 but more are needed, according to Seidenberg. Mostly, the ministry is hoping for donations.

Seidenberg emphasizes that the group serves anyone who is terminally ill – regardless of religion or ethnicity within our communities.

Reach Michel via email, call her at 909-386-3859.

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