In 2001, I started the Guilford County, NC Chapter of Project Linus.
Project Linus is a 100% volunteer nonprofit national organization with a twofold mission. First, it is our mission 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." Second, it is our mission to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities
I had recently moved to Greensboro, NC and felt the need to reach out into my new hometown and do something that involved children, crochet, meeting people and putting down some roots. Project Linus fit the bill and here is my story:
The Guilford County Chapter of Project Linus was established in January 2001 by Darlene Glover. The Piedmont Quilter’s Guild of Greensboro made the initial blanket donation of 16 Quilts. In addition, Carolyn Haskins (Darlene's friend) and the women of the Gault Avenue Baptist Women-on-Missions group in Fort Payne, Alabama, gathered money and fabric to help get our Chapter started.
On January 26, 2001, when we received our first donation of Quilts we made our first presentation to Daniel Cardwell, age 5, a pediatric patient at Moses Cone Hospital, our first recipient facility. We received our first media coverage when WFMY News covered this presentation. As a result of this show, we began receiving calls from interested individuals about becoming Blanketeers as well as organizations interested in become recipient facilities. Since then, we have steadily grown, with our group of local volunteers now numbering over 60. They create by Knitting, Crocheting, making No Sew Fleece Blankets, Machine Knitting and Quilting beautiful Afghans and Blankets and then donate them to our chapter. These Blanketeers also participate in special events throughout the year that benefit special community outreach that are not normally a recipient facility.
Here is a list of our full time recipient facilities and just a few of the community outreaches we have accomplished in the last three year:
Moses Cone Hospital Pediatrics
The American Red Cross of High Point
Family Services of the Piedmont:
Early Intervention at the Guilford Center
Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality
Guilford County Health Department Women's Health Programs:
SmartStart Universal Newborn Home Visitation Program
High Point YWCA Baby Basics Closet
Women's Hospital NICU
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.)
Here's a Hug - A pilot program in Guilford County Elementary Schools begun in December 2003
SPECIAL COMMUNITY OUTREACHES:
- Shipped over 300 blankets to the children of 9/11 victims at the World Trade Center, October, 2001
- Welcomed 4 Lost Boys (Sudanese refugees) to Greensboro with blankets, November, 2001
- Donated 256 blankets to Child Protective Services of Guilford County to blanket children in their care, October, 2002
- Presented 52 blankets to the Montagnard (Vietnamese refugees) children, Christmas, 2002.
- Assisted 2 Girl Scout Cadets in earning their Gold Award, Spring, 2003
Hosted a baby shower for Healthy Start in which 51 blankets and other baby needs were donated, June, 2003
Sent 307 blankets to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC, October, 2003
- Participated in the Adopt-A-Mom program through the Guilford County Health Department in which 20 baby blankets, diaper bags and baby needs were
donated, October, 2003
- Donated 28 blankets to the Guilford County children at Umstead State Hospital, Christmas, 2003
We have had many articles written about our Chapter and many televisions pieces done as well ... most notably of late we received a Local Award for our project for Make a Difference Day 2003 from USA Weekend Magazine, April 2004.
There are hundreds of chapters of Project Linus across this country … mine is just a small one. Our chapter has donated over 2200 Afghans and Blankets in the last three and a half years to the children of our community. It is difficult to explain the impact of making a handmade blanket … a gift of from your heart and hands … then presenting it to a hurting child. Over the years the reactions have all been different and include “Mommy Hugs” … “Children Hugs” … tears …and many other special moments, such as when you see a child that has been in an accident or abused suddenly holding tightly to the blanket you just presented to them.
I would encourage anyone who knits, chrochets, or does other type of Blanketry to find an outlet in their community where they can give their creations to benefit someone in need. I, of course, would recommend checking out our national website at www.projectlinus.org to see if there is a chapter near you … if there isn’t then start one or find another group that is dedicated to helping those in need of a the wonderful hug that only a security blanket can give.
Thank you for this opportunity to share what started out to be my story … but ultimately had to encompass an entire community of Blanketeers. On behalf of the Children we serve, we thank you for all the beautiful yarns you create for our use!
God Bless, Darlene Glover