With a few spare minutes today and a couple of simple knots, UCSB students can help provide those who were hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina with some much-needed warmth.

Students can make no-sew blankets for Hurricane Katrina victims and their children, as well as the victims themselves, today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Arbor and from 4 to 6 p.m. in Santa Cruz and Francisco Torres Residence Halls. Volunteers can also make blankets from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Chabad House, located at 6655 #B on Abrego Road.

“It’s a way we can help out on a smaller scale, although it’s a huge mitzvah, which is the Hebrew word for a good deed,” Chabad Program Director Rochel Loschak said. “Every blanket counts, and every little good deed we can do makes a better world.”

The blankets will be made from fleece material supplied by the Jewish college group Chabad @ UCSB, Loschak said. Making the blankets involves no sewing so as to make it easier for students to participate – even between classes – by just cutting fringes and tying knots, she said.

“It’s not hard, it’s easy,” Loschak said. “They don’t have to sit for an hour. You can even make just part of a blanket, or you could spend a little time to do it all.”

Loschak said she and UCSB students Rebecca Pasternak, Marissa Feinman and Cilla Zack, who are also Chabad members, hope to make at least 100 blankets.

“When people donate money, it’s difficult to know that the money is going to something they care about,” Feinman, a third-year psychology major, said. “It’s a more tangible reward for students to see and know that it’s going to directly benefit people.”

Loschak said Chabad will send the finished blankets to Jewish Hurricane Relief of New Orleans

“It’s going to let [hurricane victims] know that they’re not alone, and it’s also going to keep them warm mentally and physically by providing them actual blankets,” Zack, a fourth-year psychology major, said.

Chabad @ UCSB is an affiliate of the national non-profit organization Chabad on Campus, which – amongst its other volunteer projects – took a relief trip to New Orleans over winter break, Loschak said.

Although Chabad @ UCSB is currently covering all of the costs of the project, Loschak said she hopes other organizations and students will contribute financially, as they have with other Hurricane Katrina relief programs.

“This is a smaller scale of relief effort on the campus that we can do,” Loschak said, “I think if we have a chance to do something that will benefit others and help others, it’s an amazing accomplishment.”