Project Linus: Bringing Comfort to Sick Kids One Blanket at a Time

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A group of women who share a common hobby are making a big difference for sick children in northern Nevada by making homemade quilts that provide comfort and a piece of home.

For many children, a hospital stay can be a scary time — they don’t feel well, they’re unsure and they’re far from home. But across the country — and even here in northern Nevada — volunteers with very busy hands are bringing comfort, warmth and a bit of home to sick kids.

“Blanketeers” with the northern Nevada chapter of Project Linus — named for the Peanuts character inseparable from his blanket — meet every Thursday at the home of chapter coordinator Francis McKay to sew, knit and stitch handmade quilts and blankets for children in area hospitals.

The organization’s mission is twofold: To provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need; and provide a rewarding service opportunity in local communities to benefit children.

“I think it is a sisterhood among quilters,” says McKay, who has been sewing since age 9. “They are a very caring bunch of people. When there is a need, they show up.”

At Renown Children’s Hospital, each child receives a homemade blanket to comfort them during the stay, then take home. Child Life Specialist Elizabeth Winkler says Project Linus volunteers deliver about 200 blankets per month to the hospital.

“We love to be able to lay blankets on the beds of every child, so that when they are brought into their room, whether they are feeling okay or not, they are welcomed with something warm and fuzzy,” Winkler says. “Project Linus allows that to happen. They are an organization we can always count on.”

In addition to helping area hospitals, the northern Nevada chapter has also given blankets to children of fallen military. To date, the local chapter has donated nearly 10,000 quilts and blankets. Nationally, Project Linus has delivered more than 6.3 million.

The organization depends entirely on donations. Recently, the Renown Health Foundation donated $1,000 towards the purchase of new material.

To learn more about Project Linus, call McKay at 775-846-2583 or visit projectlinus.org.

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