A Central Alberta chapter of Project Linus Canada has just started up. The organization provides handmade blankets to children who can use some comfort. (Photo contributed)

Project Linus delivering comfort one blanket at a time

Central Alberta chapter of organization now providing handmade blankets to those in need

Lindalu Forseth has seen how much a simple handmade blanket can mean to those whose world has been turned upside down.

When a Didsbury family lost their home to a fire recently, the Central Alberta Chapter co-ordinator for Project Linus Canada made sure three children, aged 12, 10 and 18 months were comforted with gifted blankets.

“(The children’s mother) sent me pictures of the kids just loving on the blankets and they were telling me how much they had enjoyed them and they had become their favourite blanket.

“Those are the stories that make it worthwhile,” said Forseth, a longtime quilt maker herself.

Project Linus, which has about 40 chapters across Canada, aims to help those from infants to age 18. Some may have experienced a loss in their life, or are fighting health battles or other challenges in life. Children moving to a new foster care home, or who are fleeing another country, such as Ukraine, can also find a source of support through the organization.

Project Linus is named after the beloved Peanuts character, who was never seen without his trusty blue security blanket.

The Central Alberta chapter of Project Linus was started up only a few weeks ago. It is the sixth Alberta chapter and covers an area from Red Deer to Carstairs, as far west as Water Valley and as far east as Delburne and Three Hills.

Dozens of blankets have already been donated. A widower, whose late wife had been an accomplished quilt maker, donated 30 examples of her handiwork.

Another person donated nearly 20 afghans.

Blankets will be going to the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and Chinook’s Edge Victim’s Services in the next few days.

Handmade blankets of all styles are welcomed, including quilts, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans and receiving blankets. Blankets must be new, handmade and washable and made from new fabric and acrylic yarns. Wool is not accepted because so many people have allergies to it.

The local chapters could especially use small- to medium-sized blankets.

That each blanket is handmade is important because each recipient knows that someone who cares was out there with their knitting or crochet needles, sewing machine, or needles and thread creating something designed to bring comfort.

Besides donations and volunteer “blanketeers”, Forseth is also looking for more sponsors. She has been able to use her skills as a former commercial leasing salesperson to line up a number of sponsors already but can always use more.

“I’m not afraid to cold call,” she says with a laugh.

Volunteers willing to act as drop-off centres would also be welcomed. She is also organizing a raffle so people can win some of the quilts or blankets that are a little big for their needs, such as large queen- or king-size versions.

No donated blankets go unused. Those that cannot be used by Project Linus are donated to animal shelters to comfort their furry residents.

Forseth is also looking to open up another chapter that serve the region north of Red Deer as far as Edmonton.

For more information go to the Facebook page for Central Alberta Project Linus Canada or the national organization’s website at projectlinuscanada.org