Slay It Forward

Lucy Blaylock committed herself to volunteering when she was 8 years old.

Now a fifth-grader at Union Elementary School in Gallatin, the 11-year-old is an award-winning, world-known volunteer.

And in the midst of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lucy, who was recently honored in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, is shifting her focus to mask-making and donating them to local healthcare workers.

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The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a program recognizing middle- and high-school students for their volunteer work and service to their communities across the U.S. and in several other countries.

Lucy’s mom, Veronica Blaylock, said her daughter’s principal nominated her for the program. She added later that Lucy has also won the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and, last year, won the Governor’s Volunteer Star Award.

“I was inspired because I wanted to make a difference,” Lucy said of her drive to start volunteer work. “I wanted to be able to spread love, and I just wanted to make people happy.”

That’s how Lucy’s Love Blankets was born.

What started as personalized birthday and Christmas gifts for friends grew into a donation-driven nonprofit initiative benefiting kids around the world who could use a little extra love.

Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.© Submitted Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veronica Blaylock taught her daughter to sew when she was 8 years old. They started making “love blankets,” flannel blankets featuring a signature felt heart with Lucy’s name sewn into it, not long after. The initiative has, at times, been turned into a family affair to keep up with the demand.

The mother and daughter bonded over making blankets for other kids, and nominations for recipients “just kept coming” after they posted about their giveaway on Instagram. They post photos of blankets and other updates to @LucysLoveBlankets, which includes a Venmo link for donations to help cover the costs of fabric and shipping.

Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.© Submitted Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blankets have shipped nationwide and to 13 countries, benefiting kids facing hardships like bullying, cancer, losing loved ones and more.

“She’s got supporters from all over the world,” Veronica Blaylock said of her daughter. “There will always be love blankets.”

Although Lucy isn’t abandoning her love blankets, she has adapted during the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.

“Because of COVID-19, we decided to put the love blankets aside for a minute and start making masks,” Lucy explained. Her mother added that it started with a friend contacting them about making masks.

So far, she’s made more than 600 of them for local healthcare workers, with the help of her family. It started with looking up how to make them on Pinterest and practicing to get the hang of it.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.© Submitted Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veronica Blaylock said there have been times when each of her family members will have a “station” as they sit home together making masks. She said it’s been fun and “strengthening” for the family to work together for a cause.

“They’ve been working really hard,” Lucy said of her decision to help local healthcare workers. “They have to be really safe because of it, so I want to help.

“Knowing that I can do something just makes me feel good,” she continued. “I can’t cure it [the virus] or do anything like that, but I can make masks.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made Lucy “more aware” of the work that she’s doing, she said.

“It just makes you love it more, kind of, knowing that that’s all you have to do right now,” Lucy said. “That really makes it better, knowing that (you can help people).”

And that help spans beyond Sumner County.

Veronica Blaylock said that after the family displayed the message that they’re trying to help make and donate masks, the “floodgates opened.”

They got orders from Las Vegas, California, New York and more.

But luckily, the Blaylocks aren’t the only ones trying to help.

Veronica Blaylock pointed out that different hospitals might have different needs, and many citizens are stepping up to meet them. She highlighted the Sumner County PPE Stitchers group on Facebook as an example. It’s for volunteers aiming to make and donate personal protective equipment to local healthcare and essential workers.

“Any act of kindness makes a difference,” Lucy said.

Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.© Submitted Lucy Blaylock, 11, has made hundreds of masks to donate to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more info:
Instagram account: @LucysLoveBlankets

Hashtag: #LoveLikeLucy

Venmo: @Veronica-Blaylock

Email: lucysloveblankets@gmail.com

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Hey SLAYER! I’ve started a new series of posts called SLAY IT FORWARD. Each post is a submission from you of an act of kindness you have received or have witnessed that has inspired you. Let’s remind each other what’s important during this time and spread kindness… SLAY IT FORWARD.

To submit your own SLAY IT FORWARD story email me at carrie@stateofslay.com

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