Del Mar family makes blanket to help homeless weather pandemic

The Village Church
The Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe encouraged area residents to make blankets to be distributed to homeless individuals.

A local teacher who lives in Del Mar and her family are among the many residents who have been finding ways to give back to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I like for them to have a sense of perspective, I like them to have some grounding and to realize how fortunate we are,” said Jill Getchey, an elementary school teacher at Diegueno Country School in Rancho Santa Fe, referring to her three children.

For one of the family’s initiatives, Getchey’s daughter made a blanket for the San Diego Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that provides assistance for the local homeless population. The family heard about the blanket project, facilitated by The Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe, from a neighbor.

“There are people who don’t have a home, and they don’t have a place to be, and they don’t have food to eat,” Getchey said.

She added that she has told her children, ages 12, 10 and 7, that the family is “lucky to have a home to live in while there is a stay-at-home order,” since there are thousands of county residents who do not have shelter. The annual homeless count showed a 6% decrease in San Diego County’s homeless population over the past year, from 8,102 in 2019 to 7,619 in 2020. The pandemic has created an additional risk for those still homeless and unsheltered.

Getchey’s youngest daughter, Caitlin, 7, wrote a letter to the recipient of the blanket they made.

“To whoever gets this blanket, I hope this keeps you warm so that you don’t get cold,” she wrote. “I hope that you can stay happy and healthy. I hope that your dreams come true.”

Getchey also said her children have participated in other outreach opportunities, including making lunches for homeless individuals and visiting patients in a dementia care center.

“I like them to recognize their own privilege,” she said. “I also want them to think about opportunities that they can engage in to help other people who are less fortunate than we are.”