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Project Linus volunteers sew comfort

Blankets go to ill or traumatized children
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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Linus, a character in the comic strip “Peanuts,” gets a great deal of comfort and security from his blanket. With the support of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, the little blanket-toting boy’s name is also used by a national, non-profit organization that has spread worldwide. Project Linus volunteers make blankets or quilts for children who may be seriously ill, traumatized, abused, even a premature baby – any child in need of a being bundled, or bundling himself of herself, in a cozy, handmade cover. Sandy Crane, of Auburn, works with Project Linus groups in Colfax, Auburn and Penryn, which are part of the Project Linus Sacramento. “I am passionate about this program,” Crane said, because it’s “totally volunteer, from the top down, that includes the CEO and the CFO and all of those people … which is just unheard of.” Crane said the national headquarters in Bloomington, Ill. does have a part-time reception and contracts with an auditor, but otherwise everyone involved is a volunteer. Mainly, Crane said, she devotes her time to Project Linus because “it’s for all children, that find themselves in a crisis situation, from hospitalization to shelters.” Claire Gliddon, of Fair Oaks, has been coordinator of Project Linus Sacramento since she started the chapter 15 years ago and oversees chapters in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties. “Our first year we donated 35 blankets, which I thought was wonderful,” Gliddon said. “Last year we donated over 10,000 blankets, all made locally and delivered locally except those that went to Japan after the earthquake.” Gliddon said quilters, knitters, crocheters and sewers get together in groups they call gatherings. “We have about a dozen gatherings of ladies who just like to get together and chat over blanket-making,” Gliddon said. The goal of Project Linus is two-fold, Gliddon said: “Give blankets to children in need and provide an opportunity for people to give back to the community.” Project Linus works well for people to become involved in a worthwhile project and don’t have to leave home, can sew on their own time, without meetings, pressure, quotas or deadlines, Gliddon said. “This is a way for seniors who don’t like to go out at night, who like to knit, crochet or sew, to give back to the community … or they can choose to go to a gathering if they like the social aspect.” In Colfax, Crane said, Suzanne Maguire of Whistle Stop Quilt and Sew on Main Street gives Project Linus up to six hours of free classroom space once a month, where from four-to-six blanketeers gather. The Colfax group has been in existence for a year, said Crane, who co-leads the gathering with Kathy Burchert. About 12 to 20 volunteers meet monthly at the Church of Latter-day Saints on Poet Smith Drive in Auburn, Crane said. The Penryn group gathers at Hope Lutheran Church from September to May, and is on a summer break. “We have fabric and batting at both locations that has been donated … What we need is sewers,” Crane said. According to Crane, most blankets are made by blanketeers in their own homes and on their own time. Crane’s home is also a local drop-off location to receive Project Linus donations. She takes the donations to Gliddon, who then delivers them where there is a need, such as the Boys and Girls Club in Auburn, Red Cross in Auburn, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Sutter Roseville pediatrics, police and sheriff’s departments, Cal Expo shelter, neonatal and pediatric units at Kaiser Hospital and over 75 other emergency rooms, shelters, homes, and organizations that offer services and support for children and families. Crane said the organization gets a great deal of feedback about the donations. They hear from “nursing staffs, therapists, firemen, police, mothers and fathers whose children have received blanket when child has been hospitalized,” Crane said. Project Linus is an anonymous program, and no blanketeer gets individual credit. A tag identifies each blanket’s origin with a simple message: “Sewn with tender loving care for Project Linus.” For information and guidelines for sewing, knitting, quilting or crocheting a Project Linus blanket, visit www.sacprojectlinus.org.