Homemade hugs from the heart: Project Linus gives children blankets to offer comfort during tough times Published June 8, 2007 By Holly L. Birchfield 78th ABW/PA Robins AFB, Ga. -- Charlie Brown's friend Linus carried around a blanket for comfort. And just like Linus, every kid needs a little comfort at times. Since its inception in 1995, Project Linus, a national non-profit organization which has 397 chapters throughout the U.S, has provided homemade blankets to children who are going through an emotionally tough time. Joan Anderson, Project Linus' Bibb County Chapter coordinator, said the blankets are her group's way of giving hugs to children in need. "They're a form of security so that when a child is ill or is going through some sort of trauma like divorce in the family, a death or illness or a separation, the child has a hug with him or her all the time in the form of a blanket." From babies in the neonatal unit of the local hospital all the way to age 19, Mrs. Anderson said Project Linus provides "hugs" of all sizes. More than 40 ladies and nine groups in the Middle Georgia community craft the handmade blankets that come in the form of fleece, knit, crocheted or quilted materials. Mrs. Anderson said with the growing needs of the community, the organization is requesting more volunteers step forward to make the blankets. Locally, the chapter has provided 4,300 blankets to children in the Middle Georgia community since its first blanket day May 22, 2004. Since Dec. 31, 2006, nearly two million blankets have been given to children nationwide in the program. Mrs. Anderson said each blanket is bagged in order to keep it clean and delivered to each child by a designated point of contact from the organization that nominated the child to receive a blanket. Project Linus has provided blankets for children in the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Coliseum Medical Center's neonatal unit, the Department of Family and Children Services, Mother/Child Ministries and other organizations that help children in the Middle Georgia community. In recent months, the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the local chapter of Project Linus have come together to bring a little warmth and security to military members' children facing hospitalization or the deployment of a parent. Tech. Sgt. Mike Bullard, readiness NCO in charge at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, said the blankets are a nice addition to the pillowcases the center provides children of deployed military members. "I think it's a great fit and a great opportunity to provide the young ones another comfort," he said. "Right now, I currently do pillowcases. I take the family photographs and put them on a pillowcase and they can have kind of a 'sweet dreams' concept." Sergeant Bullard said about three children at Robins have received blankets since the organization began working with the A&FRC within the last month. The readiness NCO said the blankets are a good idea since so many families are on the go. "These blankets are small enough and the size is in proportion with the child and age that they can carry this around with them during the day, sleep with it at night or take it with them on trips," he said. "It's something they can carry around with them like Linus did on Charlie Brown." What to know If anyone would like to volunteer to make baby blankets or package them for Project Linus, contact Joan Anderson, Project Linus chapter coordinator, at 781- 9742. The organization is strictly a volunteer group and doesn't receive any kind of funding. For more information on Project Linus, visit www.projectlinus.org.