By Alyssa DeKeyser, Indiana Schilz, & Mackenzie Ullmer
Giving back is a great way to be active within the community and gives people the ability to help out someone who may need it. One way that community members give back is through Project Linus. Project Linus is a nonprofit organization that originated in Belton, Missouri, in 1995 that makes and donates blankets to kids all over the United States.
Project Linus’ mission is to “first provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘Blanketeers.’ Second, they provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children”.
Every State has “chapter leads” located in different cities in charge of organizing and picking up blankets at set pickup/dropoff locations in those cities. Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child is in need. In Green Bay, the chapter lead is Jill K, who has been the coordinator in the area since 2005. She said that her role consists of keeping a record of the number of donated blankets and received at the different facilities. She also recruits “Blanketeers” and fundraises for the project, which she then reports back to the Project Linus headquarters in Missouri.
Jill K says, “Project Linus averages about 600 donations of blankets a year. Last year was more difficult due to COVID and hospitals not accepting blankets, so I had to find other organizations to donate to”. But, Project Linus strives to produce and donate as many blankets are needed to help these kids. Jill stated that she has spoken with multiple groups on campus about getting involved with the project and has even gotten UWGB to offer blanket-making materials on campus for students to make and drop off.
At the UWGB Student Life Center, students have the opportunity to pick up no-sew blanket materials that they can make and drop them off at the Student Life Center, where they will be picked up by Jill to be donated. Student Life worker Emily Cole said that last year, UWGB could donate 18 blankets to Project Linus. She also stated, “donating blankets to Project Linus is a great way for students to get involved and give back to the community.” Furthermore, Cole informed us that these blanket materials could be picked up and dropped off from April 19th-23rd, which happens to be volunteer week. Project Linus allows students to volunteer their time to create blankets that will make kids all over the United States feel loved and welcomed.
These donations mean a lot to everyone at Project Linus and gives us as a community the ability to give back to those who need it,” Jill says. More information about Project Linus can be found on the website: https://www.projectlinus.org/