Once a year, members of Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that donates handmade blankets to children in need, ask for community support to help them make as many blankets as they can for ill and traumatized children.
Project Linus, named after the Peanuts character known for always carrying his blue security blanket, meets monthly to gather quilts for donations and swap blanket ideas, but Make a Blanket Day is an opportunity to spread the word to the community about this worthy cause.
Jeanne Akin, Project Linus’ East Contra Costa County chapter coordinator, said even if you don’t know how to make blankets, you can help out. “There is always something to do. We need someone to iron blankets, pick up materials – even if it’s just to go around and ask if anyone needs water.”
Akin said the East County chapter has donated more than 1,000 blankets in the past three years. The group donates to local hospitals and shelters such as Shepherd’s Gate in Brentwood.
“Every baby should have a blanket,” said Akin. “I just hope that in some small way, a blanket I make will help a child feel safe and warm during a scary time.
“When I make a blanket, I don’t know who it is for or what their story is, but I put love and hope into each blanket, and I hope children can feel that. I hope they find some comfort.”
Elizabeth Lamb, who has been making quilts for 20 years, said even if you don’t know how to make a blanket, Project Linus’ “blanketeers” will help anyone willing to learn.
Lamb takes a special interest in making blankets for children suffering from cancer. “I’m a cancer survivor ... It’s scary enough as an adult, but for children and their parents, it’s especially terrifying.
“A security blanket may not seem like much, but to a frightened child it can be a best friend. When I finish a blanket and it looks like something a child would love, I’m happy too.”
Blanketeer Carole Harrison said this is the time when Project Linus is needed most. “With so many families trying to make ends meet in these difficult economic times, I think there will be an increased need for the blankets we make at Project Linus. That is why Make a Blanket Day has real significance this year.”
Darcy Dolnick agreed. “Now is an ideal time to help Project Linus,” she said. “People feel like there is no way to help that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Project Linus offers a way to give time instead of money. We need people to donate their time to put blankets together.”
Gail Sample said not only does making blankets for children give her a good feeling inside, it is a lot of fun, too. She said she gets to use her knitting, crocheting and quilting skills while talking with new and old friends.
She said Project Linus is a special organization because the children get to keep the blankets and take the blankets with them once they leave the hospital, the shelter or the foster home. After attending Make a Blanket Day for the first time last year, she’s hooked, and hopeful that the number of members in the local chapter continues to grow.
Make a Blanket Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Delta Community Presbyterian Church, 1900 Willow Lake Road in Discovery Bay.
Project Linus meets on the first Saturday of the month, also at Delta Community Presbyterian Church. A meeting will be held this Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.
For more information, call Jeanne Akin at 510-459-7457, e-mail email@example.com or visit Project Linus.