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Project Linus

Both of my kids have a favorite blanket.  I am an adult and I still enjoy a nice comfy blanket.  Today’s organization makes sure that kids that have to be in the hospital can have a comfy blanket to cuddle with. 

Project Linus actually has a two part mission.  Their first part of their mission is to 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.”  The second part of their mission is to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.

A 1995 Parade Magazine article titled “Joy to the World” written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, Eddie Adams served as an inspiration to Project Linus founder Karen Loucks.  Part of the article featured a child that had been going through intensive chemotherapy.  The child depended on her security blanket helped her get through the treatments.  After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born.  The organization is named after the blanket-toting Peanuts Character “Linus” who continues to serve as their mascot. 

Since they began, they have donated over 3.8 million blankets to children in crisis around the United States.  They currently have 371 chapters spread around all 50 states. 

In addition to regularly serving children throughout the country who are in need of the hug of a blanket for a variety of reasons such as illness, family tragedy or other life crisis, Project Linus has a disaster-relief system they are able to put into action almost immediately after a major tragedy strikes.  Even though the blankets donated are primarily distributed in the local chapter areas, on occasion, when there is a tragedy of proportions that is more than a local chapter can handle, any chapter with a surplus of blankets may send blankets to the affected area as needed.  They do not warehouse blankets; instead they distribute blankets directly to the arms of children in crisis very soon after the need arises.  For example, within 3 weeks of Hurricane Katrina, 44,000 blankets were comforting those children displaced as a result of the hurricane.  More recently, children affected by the tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri also received Project Linus blankets.

Project Linus would not be able to serve children going through a crisis or sickness without the volunteers who support our organization.  Donations are provided through handmade blankets, supplies and monetary donations.  You can help by finding the chapter closest to you on the Project Linus website.  New, handmade washable blankets of many forms are accepted – anything from hand crocheted blankets, to handmade quilts, to no-sew fleece blankets are accepted.  You can find a variety of patterns on their website.  Local chapters also need other volunteers to help with anything from event coordination to delivery.  You can also make a monetary donation on the national organization website or contact a local chapter to learn more about ways they need assistance.

You can learn more about Project Linus on their national website, www.projectlinus.org.  You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  In addition, you can contact a local chapter near you on the Chapter Listing page of the website.

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Sue Grady – Small things can make a big difference

Today we will profile volunteer Sue Grady, who has turned a hobby into a way to help others.

Sue currently knits for several organizations including the PROP Shop, afghans for Afghans, and the Ships Project. Her first experience with charity knitting was for an organization based in California that provided clothing for newborns from disadvantaged families and toddlers in shelters. She was then recruited by Amy Nylander to start knitting for the PROP Shop to keep babies warm in the winter and small household items and baby booties for clients with new homes or new babies.

Sue knits for afghans for Afghans (a4A) because “it is an incredible organization that touches many women and children in the poorest areas of Afghanistan.” A4A is a grassroots effort inspired by Red Cross volunteers who made afghans, socks, slippers, and other items for soldiers and refugees during World Wars I and II and other times of crisis and need. The organization makes gifts of handmade blankets and garments to bring comfort and warmth to Afghan women, men, and children who continue to suffer from oppression, war, hunger, poverty, and sickness. “It is a way to let them know that Americans care about their well-being. This will hopefully also make the military’s job easier.”

The Ships Project was started in October 2001, when a female sailor responded to an “any sailor” letter written by the Ships Project founder. The sailor responded to the founder’s love of knitting with a joke that she could use some slippers to keep her feet warm. Since then, the project has grown far beyond that small beginning to send handmade hats, slippers, and Cool-Ties to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines deployed around the world. Sue says, “I chose Ships Project because my father was career Navy and I have a son who is in the Army National Guard. Those men and women are near and dear to my heart and knitting some small thing that will improve their situation is the least I can do.” Sue is a great example of turning a hobby into a way to help others. “I believe one should do what they can to improve someone else’s lot in life. I am not of the temperament to do big things but I can do little things that are added to others little things to make a bigger statement.”

When asked what others can do, Sue states, “There are so many opportunities out there that it is easy to find one that can use your talents whatever they may be. Pick one that speaks to your heart; that you will truly enjoy participating in.”

I couldn’t say it better. The purpose of this blog is to inspire volunteering and Sue is a great example of doing things that may seem small but they mean so much to those who receive those handmade items. While I was learning more about these organizations to write this profile, I found a section of the Ships Project website that includes thank you letters from the troops. This one really sums it up… “It’s obvious someone, somewhere took the time to hand make these hats and I just wanted to let you know that your works are very much appreciated here. It is amazing that what may seem like a small thing to some, really is a huge morale booster for us. I wouldn’t trade this hat for anything that is “store bought” because it is my constant reminder that great Americans such as you know we are here and support us. Thank you once again from my heart and most importantly… from my warm head!”

You can find out about the organizations that Sue volunteer’s with using these links:
The PROP Shop: www.propshopep.org
afghans for Afghans: www.afghansforafghans.org
Ships Project: www.theshipsproject.com

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2010 in Volunteer Profile

 

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