Giving the gift of love, one blanket at a time
For the past five years, Ginny Corzine, Mimi Domke, Madelyn Ketchum, Polly Lile, Marilyn Michelon and Holly Werner from the United Church of Cloverdale have been part of a core group of ladies who gather once a month to knit, crochet and quilt blankets for children in need through a program known as Project Linus.
The program was born on Christmas Eve in 1995 when a lady named Karen Loucks read an article in Parade Magazine titled “Joy to the World.” Written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist Eddie Adams, the article included the story of Laura, who had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1993 at the age of 3. A special “blankie” helped Laura get through more than two years of intensive chemotherapy.
Loucks was deeply moved by Laura’s story and was inspired to provide homemade security blankets to Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center in Denver. She chose the name in honor of Charles Shulz’s Peanuts character who could never go anywhere without his “blankie.”
In the five years Project Linus has been an outreach of the United Church of Cloverdale, more than 225 blankets have been created and donated for children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need of the comfort a new handmade blanket can bring.
Lile says most of the ones they make are infant size, but they also have made larger blankets for teens. The seamstresses supply their own materials, but donations of fabric, yarn and thread are always welcome.
Domke credits her inheritance with her ability to create so many blankets. When her mother died, she left behind boxes and boxes of quilting material. “I think she would be very pleased to see how it is being used,” Domke says.
Prior to being delivered to a drop off center, each blanket must first be washed to ensure it is clean and sanitary. It is then folded and a little ribbon or piece of yarn is wrapped around it with a tag indicating the size of the blanket and the name of the donor.
A number of the blankets have returned to Cloverdale’s Wallace House homeless shelter, which also takes in families with young children. As a rule, though, donors usually don’t know where their blankets will go, or to whom
The ladies meet at a local residence on the second Wednesday of each month to work on their blankets for a couple of hours and share conversation. New members are always welcome, either on a regular basis or as their schedules allow.
Corzine noted that they don’t serve coffee, tea or other refreshments at these gatherings because, as she says, “it takes our hands away from the task at hand.”
If you are interested in helping to make blankets, or if you have yarn, material and other supplies to donate, call the church office at 894-2039.