Snug as a Bug ministry collects over 200 blankets for Madison County kids

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Who doesn't love cuddling up in a good blanket? One woman certainly does with her grandchildren and feels every child should have one to call their own. Last year, Sandy Balch started a ministry called Snug as a Bug. Her goal was to collect new blankets for children. WHNT NEWS 19 received an email about her efforts.

Here's a portion of Debbie Thornton's nomination:

"Sandy Balch collects blankets for school children. Her first year she collected blankets for one school. This is her second year and her goal is two schools and 200 blankets. She is a wonderful woman."

WHNT NEWS 19 surprised Sandy Balch at Moores Mill Intermediate School the morning of the blanket drop-off.

"I didn't know you were going to be here today," said Balch as she walked in the door and saw the cameras rolling.

WHNT NEWS 19 was there for a very good reason, to Pay it Forward with $319.

"Thank you so much!" said Balch, after receiving the cash.

It's money for a mission. New, fuzzy blankets will be given to kids. Balch started Snug as a Bug in 2013. In the first year, they collected 81 blankets. This year, that number grew to 216. Impressive for an effort that had a humble start.

"My oldest grandson and I were at home and it was cold," explains Balch. "We were on the couch, under a blanket and I said "Aren't we blessed that we can sit here and be real warm?' That night, I went to bed and it must have been on my mind all night. I woke up the next morning and the Lord touched my heart and he said you need to get blankets for these kids that don't have any and that need warmth."

That's excatly what she did. Balch had so many bags of blankets, her son Danny, granddaughter Autumn and several young helpers carried the goods into the school.

"It's just been a God send and a blessing," says Balch.

Hazel Green Elementary School will receive 116 blankets. Moores Mill Intermediate School will get the remaining 100. Counselor Michelle White was happy to hear from Balch again this year.

"Blankets can give kids such a sense of security, love and warmth," explains White.

That warmth doesn't just come from the blankets themselves, but from the heart of the woman who's giving them.

"She's amazing," describes White. "Just wonderful, because she's helped in other ways too. She really has a heart for helping our children and our community."

Flint River Baptist Church helps support the Snug as a Bug blanket ministry, along with donations from Balch's friends and family members.

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