“Blankets to spread love” -Abington girls honor mother’s memory by spreading kindness

Abington residents Angela, 18, Christina, 16, and Mia, 7, started Annie’s Kindness Blankets to spread love to others after their mother died.

Anna Burgess The Enterprise – Angela, Christina and Mia Varney spent their Sunday in the hallways of South Shore Hospital, delivering fleece Annie’s Kindness Blankets to the hospital’s youngest patients.The sunny, breezy day would have been their mother Anne Varney’s 38th birthday. Varney, of Abington, died by suicide two years ago.Her three daughters are on a mission now to spread their mother’s kindness to remind others they are not alone, Angela said.“I think this is so much better than doing nothing and just mourning the fact that she’s not here,” Angela said.Anne Varney was described as a loving wife to the girls’ father, Steven, and a wonderful mother and friend with an infectious laugh, but she had struggled with depression for years.When she died, the girls were devastated. As they dealt with their grief, they realized that reaching out with kindness would make their mother proud and help others who might be struggling.“Our mom was honestly like a one-in-a-million person,” Angela, 18, said. “She was the sweetest person ever, and I guess this started because we wanted to show how far niceness can get you.”“We thought of blankets because people can wrap kindness around themselves,” said the girls’ aunt, Barbara Buckley. “What Annie would have actually done would be hug people until they felt better.”For more than a year now, the three girls have led the effort to spread kindness and caring, helped by Buckley, her daughter Aubrianne, and her friend Lisa Palmer.Mia, 7, Christina, 16, and Angela have given out nearly 1,000 blankets to area hospitals, homeless people and anyone who reaches out via their Facebook page. Blankets have been sent to the Ronald McDonald House in Texas, to Portugal and to Australia.Mia said she especially likes giving the blankets to sick children. Asked why her family started the project, Mia said, “so it can make people better.”Into every blanket, their grandmother Maryann Hall sews a message of kindness, reminding the recipients they are loved.Buckley said hundreds of recipients have expressed their gratitude. One woman struggling with depression said receiving the blanket saved her life.“It shows someone you care and you’re supporting them,” Christina said. “Even if it’s just a blanket, it goes a long way.”The girls also made a depression and suicide awareness video in which they remind people they are loved and would be missed if they were gone.“This is our never-ending story,” their message in the video reads. “It is our goal to never make it yours.”Asked if they were happy with how they spent their mom’s birthday, Angela and Christina answered together, “definitely.”“I love doing this,” Angela said. “I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way.”

Human Conditions Improving at a Remarkable Rate


On a number of previous occasions, I have written about the extent of human progress around the world, but the remarkable speed of improvements in the state of humanity should not go unnoticed. To that end, I have looked at some of the most important indicators of human wellbeing, especially in the poor countries, over the last decade (or, when the latest data is not available, ten years prior to the last data point). The results are encouraging and ought to give us reason for 7:00 am
3.14.17 7:00 am
3.07.17 8:50 GDP per capita in real 2010 dollars (2005-2015)
Global: $8,858 → $10,194 or a 15.1 percent Africa (SSA): $1,363 → $1,660 or a 21.8 percent increase
India: $982 → $1,751 or a 78.3 percent increase
China: $2,738 → $6,498 or a 137.3 percent increase
2. Infant mortality (i.e., children under age of 1) per 1,000 live births (2005-2015)
Global: 44.3 → 31.7 or a 28.4 percent decline
SSA: 80 → 56.4 or a 29.5 percent decline
India: 55.8 → 37.9 or a 32.1 percent decline
China: 20.3 → 9.2 or a 54.7 percent decline
3. Life expectancy (2004-2014)
Global: 69 → 71.5 or a 3.6 percent increase
SSA: 52 → 58.6 or a 12.7 percent increase
India: 64.2 → 68 or a 5.9 percent increase
China: 73.4 → 75.8 or a 3.3 percent increase
4. Depth of the food deficit, kilocalories per person per day (2006-2016)*
Global: 129 → 88.4 or a 31.5 percent decline