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Press Release

Release Date: August 31, 2017

by Briana Scribner



  • Chickasaw twin sisters, Maddie, left, and Morgan Manning are founders of The Bundle Up Club.

ADA, Okla. – Chickasaw twin sisters are waging war to defeat hopelessness, despair and poverty for the most vulnerable among us.

Maddie and Morgan Manning established The Bundle Up Club in 2014 to provide handcrafted blankets, hats and scarves to the homeless. The 16-year-olds registered The Bundle Up Club as a nonprofit enterprise with the state of Oklahoma in January 2015.

 “The reason we donate mostly handmade items is because we want to provide a quality product, but also because we want people to know that we care enough to donate our time and effort to meet their need,” Maddie said. “It allows us to donate something unique that was made with individuals in mind.”

More than 500,000 Americans are homeless, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Sadly, children and veterans are hit the hardest, according to HUD statistics.

EPIPHANY

The initial idea for the club stemmed from a trip to the Texas State Fair. On the drive there, Maddie saw people living in the streets and immediately felt the need to make a difference.

Soon after, she discussed the problem with her sister and they went to their mom who helped strategize a plan of action. Maddie decided she would use her passion for crocheting to create scarves and hats. Morgan would contribute by making no-sew fleece blankets.

The club has donated 2,128 items and completed seven projects, including The Blanket Ministry of Kristin Bridgman in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Project Baby Bundle for House of Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center in Ada, Okla.; Meals on Wheels Outreach of the Kiwanis Club in Albany, Georgia; the Ada Area Youth Shelter; Jimmy Everest Children’s Cancer Center at OU Medical Center; OKC Metro House of Hope Homeless Outreach; and most recently Mama T’s homeless shelter/transition center in Ada.

For Morgan, memories she’s made while handing out items forged a lasting impression. She said her experience helped her remember to always put others before herself.

“It’s life changing to see so many people in need,” Morgan said. “I remember when we were in Kentucky handing out blankets, a man walked up and grabbed a blanket he liked but said he was going to leave it because he knew his friend would like it as well. That teaches you should put others first instead of yourself.”

As long as there is a need in the world to help others, Maddie said, she was willing and devoted.

“I have a place in my heart for others. There’s always going to be that special place in my heart that’s going to say, ‘I need to help someone.’”

The twins stressed serving others was the most important aspect of the club. They also enjoy accomplishing the mission together.

“It’s good support,” Maddie said. “If one of us isn’t motivated, the other helps by staying focused to get the work done.”

Maddie and Morgan’s parents, John and Deidra Manning, encourage their ambitions and are very proud of their hard work and diligence. Deidra explained many people recognize a cause but are reluctant to act on it.

“It makes me proud they’re willing to not just see a need, but to actually try to do something to meet it and impact people around them in a positive way,” Mrs. Manning said. “Even if we are small that hasn’t deterred them. They still want to do what they can to make a difference, and that makes me proud.”

The Bundle Up Club is taking a short hiatus to re-evaluate its next project. Aside from the break, Maddie and Morgan are eager to welcome new volunteers and are always looking for potential projects to assist the community.

LASTING OPPORTUNITIES

Maddie and Morgan’s willingness to serve, in tandem with their Chickasaw heritage, has provided the door knock of opportunity.

“Being a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation opens up a lot of opportunities for us,” Morgan said. “In school, it has the honor program and honor society. It also offers scholarships for college, which I think are very helpful. And, of course, it offers the Toksali summer program.”

For three years, the twins have participated in the Chickasaw Nation Toksali Successful Mindsets with Attitude and Readiness for Tomorrow (SMART) program.

The Toksali SMART program allows students to learn about higher education resources and job placement assistance. The program is a valuable experience for youth ages 14-21. The program invites all Native American youth who live within the Chickasaw Nation to apply.

“It’s a great program because it gives teenagers a chance to know what working a full-time job is like,” Maddie said. “It provides participants work experience for the future.”

Morgan said the most significant job skill she has learned resulted from encounters with customers.

“Customer service has been the main thing I’ve taken away from the program, such as learning how to interact with people and treat them the way they should be treated.”

The tremendous success Maddie and Morgan have achieved is a testament to their commitment to each of their service projects.

The Bundle Up Club has impacted between 400-500 people in a span of three years and although the experience they have gained from the Toksali SMART program cannot necessarily be measured, it has made a permanent impact in their lives and endeavors.

For more information about volunteering or donating materials, visit The Bundle Up Club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bundleupclub/; their blog at www.thebundleupclub.blogspot.com or via email at thebundleupclub@gmail.com.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016