“We want to give a blanket to every child who just needs something to hold on to,” area coordinator Edee Walters said. “You have to realize some of the kids we serve have been taken away from their homes, maybe in the middle of the night, and they have nothing but the pajamas they are wearing at the time.”
The local chapter of The Linus Connection was organized in the Highland Lakes by Walters in 2002.
During the last year alone, the chapter has provided blankets for 472 children and made almost 2,300. The items are distributed to children who are chronically ill, neglected or abused.
Referrals come from the Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center, the Children’s Advocacy Center, the First United Methodist Assistance Program in Marble Falls and Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Highland Lakes Area.
Walters said the nonprofit could use more help as the holidays approach.
Anyone wanting to donate yarn, materials or money can contact her at (325) 388-9346. She is also looking for more volunteers to make blankets.
“We have about 25 volunteers and serve four agencies covering the counties of Blanco, Burnet, Lampasas, Llano, Mason, Mills and San Saba,” Walters said. “Our blankets are made here and 95 percent of them stay in the Highland Lakes.”
The local group operates as a satellite chapter for The Linus Connection of Austin. Stephanie Sabatini founded it after hearing of the national organization.
“I started the group nine years ago, and we have distributed more than 23,000 blankets in Central Texas to traumatized, ill, abused, displaced or lonely children,” Sabatini said. “I heard of Project Linus in California and thought we could benefit a lot of children here.”
There is a core group of at least 500 volunteers in the Austin chapter.
“Our groups are all-volunteer, there is no paid staff, and it consists of senior citizens, stay-home moms, Scout troops and school groups who knit, crochet or quilt,” Sabatini said. “It’s really great seeing kids giving to kids, and they all donate their time and resources.”
The blankets are very specific in terms of size and material. People will often place donations in the group’s drop boxes located at the First Baptist Church in Kingsland, 3435 RR 1431, or at the First United Methodist Church in Marble Falls, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive.
Volunteers said they are proud the Central Texas chapter was formed when “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz was still alive. The nonprofit’s brochure features a picture of the character Linus clutching his trademark blanket.
Although Schulz didn’t contact the group personally, he heard of their cause and stated publicly how proud he was of their efforts, members said.