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Project Linus finds a home in St. Lawrence Centre

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MASSENA - When Charles Schultz created Linus, the lovable Peanuts character who is never seen without his blanket in tow, he had no idea that his character would one day become the symbol of a national organization that helps provide a sense of security for children and teens in need.

Locally that organization, Project Linus, is headquartered at St. Lawrence Centre where Chapter Coordinator Virginia M. Galligan collects donations of materials, blankets and money each week that are used to help keep the organization going.

“Usually it’s run out of your home, but I asked national if I could use another location because I feel it’s better suited for St. Lawrence County,” Ms. Galligan said, adding they had no problems with her opening up an office outside her home.

“The mall has been great,” she said. “We did a blanket day here, so we already had a relationship with the mall. We’ve had different meetings and stuff here and they’ve always been supportive of what we do.”

Project Linus is located in the Sears end of the mall next to the former SUNY Canton space and is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday for people who would like to make a donation, volunteer their time or learn more about the organization.

While Sundays are the only set hours Ms. Galligan, who volunteers her time for Project Linus said other arrangements can also be made.

“If people contact me by phone, email or on Facebook and I can get here, I’ll try,” she said, adding that if taking the Facebook route make sure you search for St. Lawrence Project Linus, as the national headquarters also has a page.

While the focus of Project Linus is collecting and making blankets to give to children in need, Ms. Galligan said she is also hoping to host other events to help promote Project Linus.

“We’re hoping to have a couponing class at some point,” she said. “We would like to get more people involved and have some other events. If anyone has any ideas that would be great.”

In addition to accepting monetary donations, yarn and fabric, Ms. Galligan said Project Linus accepts donations of already-made blankets, as long as they’re homemade and come from a smoke-free environment.

Last year in Ms. Galligan’s first year Project Linus collected 166 blankets, and this year she has her eyes set on an even bigger number.

“This year I’m hoping to collect more than that. It would be nice to get an even 200, but I’ll take anything more than 166,” she said.

To help build up their blanket collection, each year Project Linus hosts an event it calls, “Let’s Cover St. Lawrence County’s Children.” This year that event will be on Aug. 4 in the former SUNY Canton space next to their office.

“In addition to holding a blanket and materials drive, volunteers will be on site making blankets to donate to the cause.

“We’ll also be teaching people how to make quilts and I’ll be teaching people how to loom knit,” Ms. Galligan said, asking individuals to let her know if they know of a child or teen who could use a blanket.

“If they’re in any kind of need and could use some comfort, get a hold of me and we’ll get them a blanket,” she said. “Whether it’s for a hospital visit, a fire or other family emergency.”

Ms. Galligan said she has a friend who is a foster parent and each time a new foster child arrives in their home, they’re greeted by a blanket from Project Linus, whose motto is “Providing Security Through Blankets.”

“I do this because I love it and I have my own little Linus at home,” she said. “It’s the perfect thing for me to do.”

Ms. Galligan may be reached at 608-7974 or via email at StLawrence.NY@projectlinus.org.

Monetary donation maybe sent to Project Linus, P.O. Box 82, Massena, N.Y. 13662.

On the web:

www.stlawrenceprojectlinus.com

www.projectlinus.org

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