Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Ally Spotlight: Julee Fassnacht

Hoffman Estates, Illinois - Each handcrafted baby blanket sold by BlanketsByJulee comes with a promise—all the proceeds of each blanket sold go to an organization that is dedicated to helping the poor receive access to clean water, food, education, and medical care. One of these organizations is Bright Hope.

Julee sells her handcrafted blankets on Etsy.

Since 2012, Julee Fassnacht of South Elgin, Illinois has made and sold nearly 430 baby blankets on Etsy, a marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy unique goods. BlanketsByJulee features hand-crocheted blankets in colorful chevron patterns. By selling her blankets on Etsy, Julee raises funds to feed her passion for helping the poor. She also provides people with unique gifts while giving them an opportunity to help those in need.

“People are always looking for ways to get something for themselves while also giving back,” Julee said. “Every penny of the purchase price goes to support Bright Hope and Cure International. I don’t keep any of it.” For this reason, Julee is eager to continue selling her blankets. “The more blankets I sell, the more I can give to these organizations.”

After someone purchases a blanket on Etsy, a message about Bright Hope appears. Julee then provides additional information by tucking the organization’s brochure into each package before she ships them. Julee also weaves information about Bright Hope in her day-to-day conversations.

“People often ask me, ‘what do you do all day?’ This is an opportunity for me to tell them about the blankets I make and the organizations I support,” Julie said. “People always want to know what they are, so I tell them.”

For Julee, crocheting baby blankets is a creative and meaningful way to spend her time.

“I really like watching the pattern emerge. I like the way the colors look when I weave them together,” she said.

Julee’s life and work demonstrates joy and creativity in her giving. She admits, however, that this has not always been the case.

"I don't remember a time growing up where giving to causes was ever a thing that happened. Putting money in the bank was always the goal,” Julee explained. “So, for me, I always tithe... but the idea of giving over and above was like—oh, come on! No way!”

Julee gives God all of the credit for the transformation that took place within her when it comes to giving. While she can’t fully explain how the transformation occurred, she believes God’s work in her life goes well beyond a simple change of heart.

“From a human standpoint there is absolutely no explanation,” Julee explains. “I’m frugal. I don’t like to spend. So, it doesn’t make any sense that I’m not only willing, but I’m happy to give. I think the only explanation, no matter how simple it may sound, is God having done something radical in my heart—that I would want to give and not keep.”

At Bright Hope, we are so grateful for Allies like Julee. We’d love to hear YOUR story too! Contact us at
info@brighthope.org and tell us the creative ways you or your family are helping the poor. And don’t forget to check out Julee’s page on Etsy at BlanketsByJulee.

Read more stories from Bright Hope's Ally Connection newsletter.