Have you ever heard of Project Linus?
Project Linus is a non-profit organization that “provides security through blankets” to children who have suffered trauma.
On Christmas Eve, 1995, an article titled “Joy to the World” appeared in Parade Magazine. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, Eddie Adams. Part of the article featured a petite, downy haired child named Laura:
“Laura has unusual compassion for others,” Charlotte Barry-Williams of Oceanside, California, says of her daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. “I guess part of the reason is that she has experienced so much pain herself.”
A special “blankie” has helped Laura, 3, get through more than two years of intensive chemotherapy. She takes it to the hospital with her when she goes for treatment. When she was first diagnosed, 97 percent of her bone marrow contained cancerous cells. Although chemotherapy has helped eradicate the cancer, she has had to endure nausea, high fevers and the loss of her hair. An allergic reaction at one point caused her to lose vital signs.
“She doesn’t understand what cancer means,” her mother says. “She’s a very joyous and happy person, very curious.” Her mother hopes Laura can start preschool next spring.
After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide new handmade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born.
Project Linus’ National Headquarters are located in Belton, Missouri, and there are now chapters in all 50 states! Project Linus continues to grow. Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug. Local Sheriffs deputies around here keep a few Project Linus blankets in the trunk of their cars to distribute to children when found in a traumatic situation.
“Rarely a month goes by that Project Linus is not featured in a national magazine or program. Parade, People, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Quiltmaker, Quilters Newsletter, Guidepost, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, Woman’s Day and many others have helped to spur interest. (You may have seen or heard segments about Project Linus on the NBC Nightly News, Today Show, or even your local newscasts.)”
Project Linus’ Mission
- FIRST – Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”
- SECOND – Provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.
For more information on Project Linus visit their official website.
My Experience with Project Linus:
I first heard of Project Linus back in 2019. I had just recently taught myself how to crochet, and I had a year before my thirtieth birthday. I created a “30 Before 30” list one of the items I wanted to mark off was to make and donate 30 blankets before my next birthday.
I accomplished my mission, and joyfully took them to one of the local donation drop off sites.
It was a perfect goal because it allowed me a creative outlet while also doing good – bringing comfort and security to children in distress.
This summer I started attending the Wednesday work days for my local chapter (which includes four counties here in North Texas). We gather together to trim selvages off the donated tied blankets, cut fabric for quilts, sort donations, and crochet borders on fleece blankets that are cut with a really nifty rotary tool called a Skip Stitch (it is like a regular rotary fabric cutter, but with parts of the blade missing to that it makes small slits along the edge of a piece of fabric into which a crocheter can crochet the foundational round for a unique border).
How Can YOU Get Involved?
You can help in several ways – whichever fits you schedule, budget and skill set!
1) Make and donate your own blankets.
Project Linus takes blankets of all sizes. Crochet, knit, quilt, tie together fleeces… It just has to be new, and handmade. It is a great opportunity to learn a new skill, hone rusty skills, or justify your yarn addiction.
2) Join your local chapter on their workday(s).
Check their website for information on your local chapter. (Simply click on your state in the map at the bottom of the page to find the chapter that serves your county for more information.)
3) Create your own group!
If you don’t have a chapter close enough to you to feasibly to join, you can start your own – like a book club – to gather together to chat and create blankets, then donate completed projects to your nearest donation drop off site.
This idea would make a great community service project for schools, and especially high schoolers. It passes on the timeless skills of olden days (crochet, knit, quilting), while instilling a heart for others and service. “Blanketeer” looks great on college applications and resumes (it also makes a great conversation starter).
4) Monetary donations are appreciated go to buying supplies (fabric, yarn, thread, etc.)
for more information on making a financial donation click here.
Together we can make the world a little safer and more comforting to children in need.