Project Linus cuddles kids in security blankets


March 13, 2002|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MOST PEOPLE recognize Linus, the comic strip character who keeps his security blanket at hand. What they might not know is that Linus has become a symbol for a national volunteer organization that makes and gives security blankets.

Project Linus enlists the volunteer efforts of people who enjoy stitching, crocheting and knitting. Their creations are given to children coping with difficult situations.

Judy Walter, family and consumer science teacher at North Carroll High School, began a chapter of Project Linus for Carroll County - one of nine chapters in Maryland and more than 300 in the United States.

"As a group, we don't meet anywhere. It's people doing everything on their own time," Walter said.

Groups at county schools make and distribute blankets or the materials to make them.

In October, when Walter held a day for sewing blankets at the high school to celebrate National Make a Difference Day, 78 people showed up. High school students and people from the community gathered to stitch and sew blankets.

Walter has developed a sort of network to gather and deliver blankets and materials on a regular basis.

The Hampstead Wal-Mart and Jo-Max Sewing of Westminster accept donations. Blankets are taken to the pediatrics ward of Carroll County General Hospital, the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the county Department of Social Services and other groups.

Those who can't stitch can contribute cash or items such as cotton fabric, thread, batting for quilts, and yarn.

Sometimes, Walter has someone in need of a special blanket, such as the teen-age boy she learned about at Christmas. The blankets she had were small and pink, so Walter dropped by the Hampstead Wal-Mart collection site and found that a half-dozen dark-colored knitted blankets had been donated. The bag held an address label from someone in West Virginia.

"I can't tell you how much we appreciate every donation," Walter said.

Project Linus began in 1995 in Colorado by a woman who observed a child in difficult circumstances being comforted by a blanket.

She asked Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Linus character, for permission to use the name and image. He agreed. When he died, his grandchildren received blankets from the project.

Information: Judy Walter at 410-374-9741 or e-mail at jwalter

Tea and fashion show

A tea party and fashion show will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 7 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1372 N. Main St., Hampstead. The event is sponsored by Northeast Social Action Program Inc.

Door prizes will be given away and a silent auction held.

Reservations for tickets are being taken. The price is $7.50.

Information: 410-239-6216.

Community service award

Kristin's Friends Inc. has announced a $2,000 scholarship for graduating seniors of North Carroll High School who will attend college and have contributed significant community service.

The applicants must show at least 25 hours of service to children's organizations working with life-threatening illnesses or disability. Kristin's Friends Inc. is a Hampstead nonprofit organization that supports families who have children with life-threatening illnesses. It was established in memory of Kristin Ruprecht, a Hampstead Elementary School pupil who died several years ago from a long-term illness.

One of the scholarship requirements is to hold a fund-raiser for the organization. The application deadline for the scholarship is April 15.

Information: 410-239-8154.

Easter basket raffle

Anyone playing Easter Bunny this year will be interested in Longaberger baskets being raffled March 27.

The raffle will help fund the rebuilding of the school playground at Spring Garden Elementary School. The items were donated by Amanda Lawrence, a basket company representative who heard about the playground project and wanted to help.

The raffle is for a set of two retired Easter baskets from last year - one large and one small basket, and they have liners, protectors, and tie-ons. Included is a glass egg dish valued at $180. All items are considered collectible.

Raffle tickets are $1 or six for $5. Members of the playground committee will sell the tickets at the Hampstead Wal-Mart from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 or call Maureen Laderer to purchase tickets. Information: 410-239-7398.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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