Monday, March 15, 2010

Moms Who Give Back: Project Linus

Most of my friends have their plates a little too full these days. With all of the conveniences that we have to multi-task, free time goes by the wayside in favor of fitting more into our days. A generous family in Palo Alto started a foundation years ago to provide below-market rent and a housing purchase program to families just starting out; in exchange the requirement is that the recipients of the deal will give back to the community in their spare time, however they can.
From the website: "The California Family Foundation helps low-income families work towards home ownership. The Below Market Rate Housing Program rents homes in eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto to families who have good credit, a growing income, are willing to perform community service every month and who are ready to be homeowners in 3 to 5 years."
Cindy and Jenny live in some of the foundation's rental houses as their husband's begin their careers. These gals are inspirational to me; I've asked them to share their story to empower other young people. Teenagers, families, and groups can all do community service for Project Linus.

"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, handmade, washable blankets lovingly created by volunteer blanket makers or '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 has delivered over 3,000,000 security blankets to children around the world. With nearly 400 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."

Thanks to Project Linus and the California Family Foundation for inspiring this service opportunity to make a difference in children's lives. I'm not sure how many blankets Cindy and Jenny have made, but they are setting a great example for their own families and for all of us who know them. According to Jenny, Stanford pediatric fellow's wife and mother of four beautiful little girls, with another baby on the way:

"I’ve enjoyed working with Project Linus because I’m a busy mom without a lot of time. I can make blankets in the free time I have in the evenings and still feel like I’m contributing to the community. I especially love the idea of serving a child in need. The project welcomes several types of blankets so you don’t have to be an expert seamstress to participate. Its relatively fast, easy and inexpensive and my older children can watch, help and learn to develop a servant’s heart."

Find out how youth and families can do good works by making blankets and delivering them to local fabric stores for distribution, visit Project Linus:

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