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Donations needed for Project Linus

In times of crisis, a blanket can provide warmth and comfort to a child in need.
That’s where volunteers like Betty Oliver can help.
The Fort Erie resident runs the Niagara Chapter of Project Linus, a not-for-profit charitable organization that donates home-made blankets to children and teenagers up to the age of 18.
The blankets, Oliver explains, are gifts for young people who may have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or cancer. Other blankets have been given to children that have watched their homes destroyed by fire, suffered through a natural disaster, may have been traumatized, or impacted by other unfortunate events.
Each blanket that’s been given to a child has a label sewn into it that says, “Made with Loving Care for the Linus Project,” Oliver says, and adds, “The blankets are meant to be like a hug and lets children know that they aren’t alone. They have something to provide a sense of security.”
Project Linus was created by Karen Loucks Rinedollar in 1995 in the U.S. after she saw an article about a girl undergoing chemotherapy, who said her security blanket helped her get through her treatments.
The story inspired Rinedollar to make security blankets for Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Centre and Project Linus was born.
The name Project Linus came from the blanket-toting character Linus from the Peanuts cartoon created by Charles Schulz.
“The founder of the Linus Project got permission to use the name Linus when Charles Schulz heard about her project and he gave permission for the name to be used,” Oliver explains.
Oliver heard about the Linus Project for the first time in 2011 when she read an article in a local newspaper.
“I wanted to donate blankets and that’s how it all started for me. Not long after, I took over the local chapter,” she says.
Since she began volunteering, Oliver says more than 1,000 blankets have been donated to children in need across Niagara.
She says children “need something for security” and it doesn’t always have to be a stuffed animal or a doll.
“Blankets are portable and can be carried anywhere,” she says.
Oliver is issuing a call to the community for donations of materials to make the blankets.
Oliver could also use some help to make blankets and deliver them to organizations including local hospitals, Women’s Place of South Niagara and Family and Children’s Services.
She also wants the community to know that if there is a child who could benefit from a blanket, Oliver encourages them to contact her and let her know.
“If someone needs a blanket, give me a call and let me know. I can make arrangements to make sure it gets to where it needs to go,” she says.
There are 44 chapters across Canada with volunteers, better known as blanketeers, providing much-loved blankets to children going through a crisis in their lives.
For more information about Project Linus or to donate call Oliver at 289-321-0817 or send an e-mail to bettyoliver@live.ca.


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