Christine Newby’s Project Linus shirt sometimes gets attention.
She recently wore it and a woman with an eight-month-old baby came up to her and told Newby about his blanket.
A nurse at Piedmont Hospital wrapped the newborn in a Project Linus blanket while at the hospital, and his mother told her that it’s still his favorite blanket, Newby said.
Newby loves to hear the stories of the blankets that have made a difference.
Then there was another child who’d broken her arm. While at the emergency room, she received a blanket that was made by a teacher at her school. That made the blanket all the more special, and her teacher was thrilled.
Newby took over as the head of the Project Linus chapter in 2018. That year, the organization gave away about 400 blankets to children from newborn to 18. In just the first six weeks of 2023, volunteers have made more than 500 blankets. In 2022, Newby said volunteers delivered 7,192 blankets to children in need.
On Feb. 10, about 50 airmen from Fort Gordon spent the morning making blankets at a space provided by the Gerald Jones Auto Group. That was more than double the amount of volunteers expected, but there were plenty of blankets to be made.
Some crocheted, some cut squares for I-Spy quilts, and some made tied blankets as part of a volunteer day.
Airman Reid Stromsdorfer said they were given options to volunteer at several places and Project Linus stood out to him.
“This seemed the most impactful,” said Stormsdorfer who hoped to complete five tied blankets during the outing.
And the auto group was happy to provide the space.
“We are proud to support Project Linus in their partnership with the U.S. Air Force in their outreach ministry to provide blankets to children in need,” said Virginia Atkins, digital marketing manager.
Project Linus blankets go to a variety of places in the area. Some go to hospitals; others go to pre-kindergarten projects and others go to homeless, foster and abused children.
The I-Spy quilts are made especially for those displaced children, Newby said.
Made from 48 brightly colored and whimsical patterns, the quilts not only serve as a comfort, but they can be a toy as they give the child something to focus on, she said.
Not only do the blankets provide for the children who receive them, the blankets sometimes help those who make them.
Newby said a student with autism started making blankets.
“He was disruptive and anxious,” she said until he started making the blankets. Now, his teachers allow him to make the blankets at school. “He’s calmer and doing better in school. Three teachers have told me it really helps.”
And now that he knows he’s helping others, he’s even more enthusiastic about it.
“He makes between 20 and 30 blankets a month,” she said.
On the third Saturday of each month, a blanket making day is held at Platt’s Funeral Home, but several churches hold their own regular blanket days. The Air Force volunteer day was the fifth event Newby had been part of during the week.
Staff Sgt. Marissa Condon set up the Feb. 10 volunteer day, but she’s been a regular volunteer for almost three years.
She saw something on Facebook during the pandemic and thought it would be something she could do to help combat the stir craziness of that time. She didn’t sew or crochet, but she went anyway. She’s glad she did.
“Everyone who goes there loves being there,” she said.
Volunteers are always needed and so are people who are willing to donate to the cause.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org