BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Western New York natives Mike Alexander and Vithaya Kanhalangsy co-founded “Blankets for Buffalo,” just a few months ago.
“I think it was after a Bills game right after the win over the Jets,” said Alexander. “And my cofounder and I we’re just talking about how cold its going to get and how many people struggle with staying warm in the winter,” he said.
The idea is to give the gift of warmth to the area’s most vulnerable this holiday season. “We wanted to charge forward with that ‘City of Good Neighbors,’ mantra, so we kind of came up with the idea to donate some blankets,” said Alexander.
“With everything that’s going on in the world we wanted to find a way to keep the faith going,” said Kanhalangsy. The pair started collecting from friends and family, then partnered up with several local businesses where people can drop off blankets.
When they collected more than one hundred blankets, it became a bit overwhelming washing them on their own. So they reached out to Colvin Cleaners for a helping hand. “I know he does such a great job with coats 4 kids and everything like that so I wanted to stop by and see if there was any opportunity for him to offer us a discount,” said Alexander.
Colvin Cleaners did them one better and offered to clean all the blankets for free. “We’re helping keep people warm in the City of Buffalo whether it’s coats or blankets now,” said owner Paul Billoni.
“Paul Billoni walked us over in his suit and he processed the first couple bags for us and that really says a lot to me about this man’s integrity, willingness for the City of Buffalo,” said Alexander.
Colvin Cleaners has already washed around 180 blanket and the collection is ongoing. All items collected will be donated to several non-profits across WNY.
You can donate new or gently used blankets at the locations below.
Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.