Our Mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of NEW HOMEMADE WASHABLE blankets and afghans lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers”.
On Christmas Eve, 1995, an article titled “Joy to the World” appeared in Parade Magazine. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, Eddie Adams. Part of the article featured a petite, downy haired child. She had been going through intensive chemotherapy and stated that her security blanket helped her get through the treatments.
After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born. Project Linus was named after the adorable security blanket toting character from the Peanuts comic strip. Creator Charles Schultz was aware of our efforts and delighted to have Linus inspire blanket makers to help comfort children in need.
With over 350 chapters in the United States, our organization continues to supply blankets to children in need. Although Project Linus originally donated blankets to pediatric cancer patients, recipients now include any child who is seriously ill or traumatized in some way — in other words “children in need of a big hug.”
Project Linus is a volunteer driven non-profit organization.
History of the East Tennessee Chapter
Sheila Lappin and Deb Miller started the Project Linus of East Tennessee chapter in April 2003. Prior to that Barb Loadholtz operated a local chapter. When she decided to shut down the chapter, Sheila and Deb coordinated the transfer of all drop off locations, volunteers, etc. to the new chapter. Without Barb’s initial work, this new chapter would not have been possible. Sheila was in charge of volunteer activities, blanket collection and distribution and public relations. Deb’s efforts were focused on the newsletter, brochures, communications and reports. In August of 2004, Deb Miller assumed all coordinator duties. She enhanced the core volunteer leadership team Barb had created to help with blanket deliveries/distribution and pick-ups, newsletter mailing, fundraising, speaking engagements, special events and more.
Many of the volunteers that Barb worked with are still making blankets for Project Linus today. In addition, we have added many new volunteers, drop off locations for blankets and organizations that we serve. It’s hard to say how many volunteers there are since many are in quilt groups and some only participate once for a special project. We mail over 100 newsletters and email over 400 newsletters. We suspect there are over 1000 volunteers in any given year. In the first 5 years of our existence, we collected and distributed about 5,000 blankets (about 1000 average per year). By the end of 2017, we have distributed 30,168 blankets (averaging over 2000 blankets per year).