Project Linus offers comfort to people in need
“Providing security through blankets,” is the simple motto of Project Linus.
The project is named for the Peanuts character, Linus, who always carries his blue blanket with him wherever he goes.
“It’s our mission to provide hand-made blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need,” explained Mary Brauch, the Chapter Coordinator for Project Linus in Todd and Wadena Counties.
Brauch was in Perham last week to deliver 30 blankets to the Perham Community Outreach Ministry. The blankets will go to local families in crisis situations; to people who could use some comfort.
Since 1998, on the national level, Project Linus has delivered almost 4.8 million blankets.
On the local level, the non-profit is still a youngster.
“I was going to donate some blankets about a year and a half ago,” said Brauch, a self-proclaimed blanket maker. “I thought, ‘OK, I’ll do it through Project Linus.’”
But then, Brauch found out that the nearest places she could donate her blankets would be Bemidji or Saint Cloud.
“I realized they would be well used, but they would not get back to Perham, New York Mills, Staples and Long Prairie,” said Brauch. “That’s when I looked into having a chapter that would serve these communities.”
Although the chapter is based out of Staples, 237 blankets have been donated and distributed to children in Wadena, Todd, Otter Tail, Crow Wing and Morrison counties.
One group from the St. Lawrence parish near Perham contributed 12 blankets to the drop-off.
“I had those blankets and I made some phone calls. I was given Cindy’s name as a contact person, and she said ‘Yes, we can use the blankets here.’”
Cindy Olson is a volunteer with the Perham Community Outreach Ministry at Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham. She coordinates with Someplace Safe and other community contacts to distribute blankets in the area.
“For me, it’s been a remarkable thing,” said Olson. “Different entities working together to find needs. So this is an identified need and here is a project that fills that need. Perham is sitting in a really good position with that. Everything ties together and they all work together so well.”
For any blanket makers who are interested in contributing to Project Linus, Brauch said single-layer polar fleece blankets are a great, simple project to get started.
She suggested starting with gender-neutral 50-by-50-inch blankets.
“We are making security blanket comfort quilts,” explained Brauch. “These are more for crisis situations and emotional comfort. The blankets just go wherever they’re needed.”
Elizabeth Huwe, FOCUS