River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country



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July 17, 2013

The Volunteer Connection by Margaret Shultz

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist

My two youngest grandchildren, ages 3 and 4, both have blankets that go everywhere with them.  I bet you’ve known children who had their own “security” blankets.  To be perfectly honest, I’m long past childhood, but when I’m feeling not so great I have my own fuzzy blanket that makes me feel better.  Project Linus, named after the Peanuts character who is never without his blanket, is a very special program that gives handmade blankets to children of all ages when they are experiencing trauma or scary situations.  Blankets are distributed to the KeyStone and DASAS shelters, to the local hospitals, to Victim’s Services, and to Children’s Protective Services at DHS.  The St. Joseph County chapter is one of many hundreds of chapters all over the country and it is coordinated by Carole Seman.

There are several ways that you can choose to help Project Linus.  You can make a blanket.  The only rules for the blankets are that they be handmade, washable, child-friendly, and from a smoke-free environment.  They can be constructed any way you wish – quilted, knitted, crocheted, or tied.  They can be any size because the program serves children from babies to teenagers.  If you’re not sure how to start, the program has a website, www.projectlinus.org, that includes many patterns for different kinds of blankets.  Donors can deliver their donated blankets to Karen’s Sewing Shop on N. Main St. in Three Rivers.  If you would like some company while you are working on your blanket, there is a group that meets at the Commission on Aging on the third Monday of the month at 5:30 pm.  They would welcome new blanketeers, as they are called.

The local Project Linus group also needs some help with administrative tasks.  Carole would appreciate having a volunteer who is able to maintain a simple database and assist her with some record-keeping.  If you are interested in helping or if you’d like more information about Project Linus, you can reach Carole Seman at 269-718-8536.

There is a new free store in St. Joseph County.  It’s called The King’s Closet and it is located at109 W. Chicago Rd. in White Pigeon.  The hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 5 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm.  The store has used clothing and small household items such as dishes and cooking supplies.  All items are available free of charge to anyone needing them.  Donations of good, used items are welcomed and should be brought during the times that the store is open.  Volunteers are also needed to help with sorting donations and assisting customers.  The manager of The King’s Closet is Leanne Hill and she can be reached at 269-503-3763.

The Three Rivers Eagles are still accepting cash donations for their “Stepping into School with New Shoes” project.  They hope to be able to provide new shoes to at least 300 elementary and middle school children.  Donations can be mailed to Three Rivers Eagles #2303, 715 E. Hoffman St., Three Rivers, MI  49093.  For more information, call Vern Rintz at 269-279-781 or Larry Price at 269-585-3318.

Other programs in St. Joseph County that are looking for volunteers and would like to be included in this weekly column are encouraged to register with United Way.  Contact Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist, at 269-467-9099 or at volunteer.sjcuw@gmail.com.






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