Project Linus, the University of Saint Francis (USF) and the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior holiday all share the common thread of community service. For 10 years Angie Springer has made blankets and helped organize the Linus Blanket making project at USF. The project is one of many held on the University’s annual MLK Day of Service on the King holiday. All the blankets are donated to Project Linus.
“When I started looking at the MLK Day project, I was trying to think of a project that could be done on campus that the students would enjoy doing,” said Springer, administrative assistant to the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I wanted to do something to help children in particular who were seriously ill because my daughter died when she was five from cancer.”
“We make blankets and we give them to children in the community who are in crisis,” said Project Linus Chapter Coordinator Joyce Pickett. “They may be sick, they may be hurt, they may be grieving. “We give them to hospitals, schools and a lot of social service agencies. The blankets comfort them and we do get thank you notes every once in awhile that will bring tears to your eyes.”
Project Linus is a national organization. It adopted the name because of the Peanuts character Linus who holds a blanket for security. Pickett said children feel a greater sense of security when they can hold a blanket. Project Linus works out of its new location at 7011 Stellhorn Road. Volunteers are the heart of the organization. All the materials they get and give are donated. The local chapter began in April 2004. “We have given out more than 43,000 blankets since we began,” said Pickett.
The USF Linus Blanket project has donated hundreds of blankets to Project Linus over the years. Students make up a large part of the volunteer base. “This blanket is for somebody,” said Bezner Gomez. “For them it’s special even though for you it’s just a project. For them this is something they’re going to hold on to.”
Some of the blanketeers like to believe blankets they make on the King holiday not only service children but also pay tribute to a man whose life was spent in service to others. “One of Dr. King’s most famous quotes is about service,” said Katrina Boedeker USF OSSA Director. “King said we all can be great. We all can serve. One of the things we think is a great leveler and one of the things that helps us to understand one another is when we serve together side by side.”
“It makes me really happy that we can help the community and be a good part of the community,” said USF student Madi Young.
Blanketeers aren’t the only ones who will be busy at the University of Saint Francis on the King holiday. The university is holding many community service activities on January 21, 2019. For a full list of them go to the USF website under 2019 MLK Day Day of Service.
Project Linus will hold an open house Saturday, January 26 at its new location at 7011 Stellhorn Road. The hours are 1 – 5 p.m. The organization is always in need of blanketeers.