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Project Linus ‘blanketeers’ make 4,000-plus blankets, quilts in 2021


Despite canceled blanket-making sessions and meeting in parking lots because of the pandemic, Project Linus volunteers still made about 4,000 blankets in 2021.

As many as 10 members of the local chapter worked on each hand-made blanket before it was given to a child in need by a Las Cruces police officer or firefighter, a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy or a staff member at a local hospital or any one of the 39 organizations in Las Cruces and Deming to which Project Linus donates blankets.

“Wherever you fit in, you are an integral part of this ministry of comfort to the children of our area,” Project Linus coordinator Suzi Stoltzfus told chapter members earlier this year.   

Stoltzfus said the chapter has about 70 participating volunteers, including more than 20 who regularly attend chapter meetings at ThreadBear, 2205B S. Main St., when blankets are made. They sort, sew and crochet to create an astonishing array of brilliantly colored blankets and quilts in a wide range of sizes that are then folded, bagged and delivered and will wind up in the hands of child, age birth to 18, in need of comfort.

Project Linus history

Stoltzfus said Project Linus started in Denver, Colorado in 1995 when Karen Loucks read an article in “Parade” magazine about children suffering from serious illnesses. One child spoke about their beloved “blankie” which gave them comfort through chemotherapy treatments. Karen decided to start making blankets for the Rocky Mountain Children’s hospital in Denver. She named her effort Project Linus, after Linus Van Pelt, the Peanuts comic strip character who is never without his security blanket.

The Las Cruces chapter of Project Linus was started in 1999, Stoltzfus said, after Linden Ranels learned about the national organization.

Ranels “worked tirelessly for seven years to build a loyal base of blanketeers,” Stoltzfus said. “We sadly lost Linden in 2020. Dayle Sillerud became our next chapter coordinator in 2006 and served until 2009, when she moved to Lubbock, Texas. Kate Coffman stepped up to help with our transition that year, and I became the coordinator in 2010.”

Stoltzfus said the local chapter’s first blanket was given to La Casa domestic violence program, “and we have grown from about 75 blankets a year to over 4,000.”

How you can help

Project Linus needs new, washable, handmade quilts, afghans and fleece blankets to give to local children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need, along with blanket-making materials, postage stamps and cash donations.

It’s greatest need is gift cards to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.

You can drop off fabric, yarn and other donations at Sew What’s New, 3961 E. Lohman Ave. No. 9; Be Sew Creative (formerly Bernina Sewing and Design Center), 1601 E. Lohman Ave.; Joann Fabrics, 1711 E. University Ave.; and Threadbear fabric store, 2205B S. Main St.

Mail donations to Susan Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 116, Mesilla Park, N.M. 88047.

Contact Stoltzfus at 575-526-3695 and sgstolt13@gmail.com.

Visit www.projectlinus.org and on Facebook.