Project Linus volunteers make, package, and distribute handmade blankets (that is, quilts, fleece blankets, knitted & crocheted afghans) to children in a wide variety of crisis situations. The South Austin Project Linus groups meet on the third Saturday of every month (except November & December) and have meetings in far-south Austin. Bastrop groups meet at other times. Check here for more information. If you'd like to receive monthly news of our activities, please sign up to be on our mailing list. There is always an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter, and we never share our email list with anyone. (Generously hosted for free by MailChimp.)
Project Linus is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization started in December 1995 by Karen Loucks in Parker, Colorado. Karen read an article in Parade magazine about a little girl who was comforted by a blanket as she underwent chemotherapy. Having recently learned to crochet, Karen began supplying blankets to the Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center. As she told her friends about her self-appointed task, they offered to help. Over time and assorted growing pains, Project Linus grew into a national organization with upwards of 350 chapters providing blankets to children in need all across the USA. Since 1998, over five million blankets have been given to children across the U.S.
In January 2004, while shopping at Austin Sew-n-Vac in Round Rock, Diane Whitehouse spotted a brochure from Janome of America promoting the 2004 Project Linus Make-A-Blanket Day (MABD). Her immediate reaction was “I'd like to continue helping children year ‘round, not just once a year. What better way to make a difference then to give a child a BLANKET FULL Of Hugs?“ She went to the Project Linus national website listed in the brochure looking for the nearest chapter. Finding none in the area, she carefully considered her options, decided to forge ahead, applied for chapter status, and was approved on April 12, 2004.
Eventually Jean Bishop offered to become her assistant. Since then, Jean's crocheting expertise has helped educate others interested in making afghans. Jean developed monthly blanket-making sessions in south Austin.
In 2009, the chapter donated over 1,700 blankets to children in need through various community services. By 2011, we were up to over 2,200. And in early 2012, we added a group who meet and distribute blankets in Bastrop County. Our annual total of blankets shared with children in 2013 was just a few blankets short of 2,500. In 2014, it was over 2,700. Clearly, needs continue to grow each year.
In January 2010, Diane resigned as the Chapter Coordinator as she and her husband retired and moved out of the area. Unwilling to let this valuable work stop, Anita Howe, a blanketeer with the South group, stepped in and continued Diane's work. Anita stepped down as Coordinator in January 2013 and Brenda Kilburn took on the position. Jean Bishop is the South meeting coordinator, and Mary Knauer is organizing the Bastrop County effort.
Sadly, due to declining membership for assorted reasons, and losing their meeting space, the group that met in Round Rock disbanded as of May 2014. Some of their members continue to work with the remaining group and we hope to continue to get blankets to the more northern locations. We are working to reestablish the meetings of this group too.
The Project Linus Mission Statement
Project Linus is comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. Each volunteer and local chapter all work together to help us achieve our mission statement, which states: