NBC26 Cares: Project Linus
Most of us had a favorite blanket when we were a child. It brought us comfort and security. Now a group of volunteers is giving kids in crisis that same feeling through the Project Linus program.
JuliAnn Stanis knows the fear families face when a child is in the hospital. Her children were born premature and received a donated blanket while in the intensive care unit.
"When you're in the NICU, it's such a foreign environment and to have something to take home that's your baby's because you can't really hold your baby, you can't take your baby home, it's just one little thing. I used to bring them (the blankets) home, and I'd sleep with them," said Stanis.
Now Stanis, who's also a talented seamstress, is using her skills to bring comfort to families in a similar situation.
"It's something I've wanted to do since they were babies, and I was just waiting for the right opportunity. I think now they're old enough to help out a little bit and to see what a wonderful thing it is."
JuliAnn and her kids are among the 200 Project Linus volunteers who attended a "Blanket Day" recently in Darboy. The blanketeers help kids through trauma one stitch at a time.
"The blankets go to hospitals, hospice centers, domestic violence shelters. They go to kids in foster care. Anytime there's a kid in crisis, you know that's where the blankets go," said Melody Buchinger, Project Linus Coordinator for Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties.
Volunteer Jean Blaney added, "Blankets. It means security. You know it's something when things in their lives aren't quite right that they can actually hold and hug and bring a sense of security to them."
It's a feeling JuliAnn's children still get years later.
"They cherish them. When their blankets are missing, they're sick, they want their blankets," explained Stanis.
It's proof that the volunteers' hard work is worth it.
"When you're done, you just see all the blankets that are made and you just know that what you've done here today has made a difference," said Blaney.