She founded Project Linus (PL), a nonprofit group that provides comfort and security to seriously ill and traumatized children through handcrafted blankets. And since she couldn't find a local chapter nearby, she started her own.
What attracted Dolnick went beyond the image of an adorable thumb-sucking Peanuts character. "It's different because it's specifically for children in crisis, whether medical or other," said the 36-year-old Dolnick.
Her duties as chapter coordinator include recruiting "blanketeers," making new, handmade, washable blankets and afghans, and arranging blanket drop-offs with local organizations.
The stay-at-home mother of two, with husband Brett, is no stranger to donating her time and energy.
She served on the executive board of Mother's of Preschoolers (MOPS) of Discovery Bay for two years. Her love for socializing with other moms made this new organization easy to join.
"I really love getting together with friends to make blankets, but the best part is dropping off the blankets, knowing how much of a difference it will make to a child," she said.
The blankets are distributed to hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere a child might be in need of a big "material" hug.
Her group of eight women from Discovery Bay, Brentwood, Concord and Antioch deliver locally to Shepherd's Gate in Brentwood and VESTIA (Volunteer & Emergency Services Team In Action) in Martinez, spanning Contra Costa County.
If you're challenged in the talent department, not to worry. Dolnick says that some blankets are made in a snap.
"I have crocheted blankets, but I've found that it is cheaper and faster to make the 'no-sew' fleece blankets. You can buy kits at Jo-Ann's Fabrics & Crafts or buy individual yards of fleece and make your own. There are so many great kid patterns out there," said Dolnick.
She said no-sew kits on sale cost as little as $2.50 each.
As of September 2006, PL volunteers have donated 1,806,791 blankets to deserving children through 397 chapters in all 50 states. That's over 150,000 each year since its inception in 1995.
Dolnick's group is proud to have donated 35 so far.
With a bachelor's degree in psychology from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, the Ohio native's roots in philanthropy can be traced to her mother.
"She has always given to others. She was a social worker while I was growing up, so I saw that side of foster care and adoptions," said Dolnick. "Now she is a minister at a church in Bellevue, Ohio, and continues to donate her time to different organizations."
As a member of the MOPS club, Dolnick, who has adopted others herself, believes in the warmth a blanket of love can provide.
"I've been involved in adopting families during the holidays for the past three years," she said. "I know there are kids out there that need something for comfort. What's better than to cuddle up to a nice, warm blanket?"
The group meets every first Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Delta Community Presbyterian Church in Discovery Bay on Willow Lake Road. Call 513-7647 or visit www.projectlinus.org.