Volunteers quilt comfort for Project Linus

ANDREW MILLER, ThisWeek Community News
Madison Crissinger, 8, draws a picture with her mom Jennifer Ball, right, to be used on a blanket for the Linus Project.

Dozens of Groveport residents turned out to craft a little caring last week in support of Project Linus and central Ohio children in need.

Project Linus started in 1995, according to the organization's website (www.projectlinus.org), after founder Karen Loucks read an article that highlighted the importance of a little girl's security blanket as she underwent chemotherapy.

"After reading the article, Loucks decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver's Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born," the website states.

The project, named in honor of the blanket-carrying Peanuts cartoon character Linus, has since grown into a national nonprofit organization, including a central Ohio chapter.

Project Linus recruits volunteers to create quilts and other handmade, washable blankets to distribute to seriously ill and traumatized children up to age 18.

Tina Dillman, Groveport's naturalist and program coordinator, said she heard about Project Linus through her Girl Scout connections, and met Project Linus "blanketeer" coordinator Joan McTigue to set up a Jan. 22 quilting night in Groveport.

"She's a local volunteer who helps get people like me involved, and her group brings all the materials to us for decoration," Dillman said. "They brought us dozens of eight-by-eight squares and stencils and supplies to decorate them with, and then took them back to quilt them together.

"I'd say we decorated enough squares to make several blankets."

Dillman said that after putting the project night on the city's events calendar and announcing it to area Girl Scout troops, she had so many volunteers that she scheduled to a second night to accommodate all the help.

"We ended up with about 35 volunteers the original night and almost 30 the second night, including most of five Girl Scout troops," Dillman said.

"One of the families that participated included twins who had received blankets from Project Linus when they were younger and hospitalized."

According to Dillman, the success of this first Project Linus event in Groveport will lead to more in the future.

"This was the very first time doing this, but I hope to put together another one in the near future and do this at least annually," she said.

Information about the Columbus Area Chapter of Project Linus is available at colsprojectlinus@gmail.com.