A simple blanket can bring an enormous amount of comfort to children in need.
That’s the philosophy of Project Linus, a nonprofit national organization that distributes blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need.
The Great Falls chapter, along with the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds, sponsored a make-a-
blanket day Sunday afternoon with the hope of collecting 150 handmade blankets for Haitian children affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.
“You think of these cute little kids cuddling in them,” Gayle Barnes, volunteer blanket-maker said.
Barnes brought eight blankets she made to the event.
“Nobody is going to judge my corners, and some little kid will just be smiling and so happy to get it,” she said holding up the quilt she made with airplanes on it.
Jill Larson, of Helena, said the event provided a perfect opportunity to dig out some of her unfinished projects in her stash of fabric.
The twin size quilt she sewed was a project she started about 15 years ago.
“Now it’s getting finished and going on,” Larson said.
Shayne Isakson sat next to Larson at table sewing together a blanket kit. The two ladies just met, but had a needle and thread as common ground.
“All quilters are friends — or should be,” Larson said. “What’s neat to see is all these young people out here learning to do things for others and making beautiful things. There’s no age barrier here.”
Shelby Williams, a sixth-grader at East Valley Middle School, brought two of her friends along to make blankets. They took pieces of fabric and wrote words of encouragement and prayers and put them inside the four fleece-tied throw blankets they made.
“(The idea) just came to my mind so they’d know we are there for them and made these blankets special for them,” Williams said.
Williams learned to make the simple blankets from her grandmother and taught her friend Kaitlyn Togerson and helped Dava Harvey.
“It makes you feel good about yourself,” Harvey said about donating her time to make blankets.
Jim Schweyen brought his daughters, Courtney, 9, and Morgan, 4, to make blankets with the fabric they picked out full of colorful hearts and happy monkeys.
Courtney was gracious about the time it took to make a blanket to give away because she understands how special it can be to a child. She has a special blanket — yellow and blue with ducks on it — her mom made her when she was about 4.
“I remember because I got to pick out the fabric,” the Radley Elementary third-grader said.
Gina Loss is the coordinator for the local chapter and said Project Linus has either sent or committed to sending 31,000 blankets to Haiti where thousands lost their lives.
“When you think about how many children are affected, this is really just a drop in the bucket,” Loss said.
The local chapter is one of hundreds across the United States that have distributed over 3 million blankets since Project Linus’ inception in 1995.
Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or firstname.lastname@example.org