How do I start this newsletter? I can't believe the friendship, support and dedication of the Blanketeers that belong to the Phoenix West Valley Chapter of Project Linus. THANK YOU to everyone that 'dropped' off blankets on the three days I offered the event. Drum roll please - at the last count 1,571 blankets have been processed! With many more waiting to be counted. Thank you to the people that have been a huge help by: sorting, labeling, wanding, sorting yarn into kits, and cutting batting. We have been busy Bees for the past two weeks. Too many to mention by name, but please know how grateful I am to all of you!
The plan for the end of the month is for another drop off day, however, we are going back to the last Saturday of every month, Bee Day (the day we have our monthly meeting). Unfortunately, we won't be able to have our meeting but you will be able to drop off your finished blankets. The date will be September 26th. Delivery people will pick up their blankets and we will then be back on schedule.
We have bagged all of October and November that are now ready for delivery. The most recent deliveries went well. Each facility that was open, were very happy to receive our blankets again.
As you may remember, we donate to Peoria Police Department's Shop With A Cop. I have been in touch with my contact at SWAC and they are hoping to have the annual event in the middle of December. I am excited to let you know that we already have blankets ready for them.
More good news, Billy's Place (grief counseling for children and adults) is also hoping to hold their annual Winter Wonderland party. This means that we will need the Christmas/Winter themed blankets by the end of November. We have some already but will definitely need more. (I can't remember the total at the time of writing this, but I think there might be 20 or 25, we will need 50 or so.)
Even more good news (isn't this a great newsletter - lots of positive news). We are still collecting red, white and blue blankets for Luke Air Force Base AND we can now donate crocheted, fleece and knitted blankets as well as the quilts.
We have a need for baby blankets. We also support Starting Out Right (formerly Teen Outreach) so we will need extra. However, please make other sizes as well!!
Almost finished! It's been a long time since I have written such a long newsletter. It feels wonderful to be back in business!
As most of you know, we also support a few charities.
Please save WATER bottle caps only. At one point we were saving any plastic beverage lids, but not anymore, JUST water bottle lids. Since 2017, we have NOT collected prescription bottles, please do not bring them. Also, we started collecting feminine hygiene products for teens that are not able to attend school because they don't have supplies during their period. Hotel toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrushes etc can be donated for Family Promise. Last but not least, we are still saving soda pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House.
On a personal note, THANK YOU for all your kind words and thinking about my family and I. We are still adjusting but our broken hearts are slowly healing.
I found this quote a few weeks ago and wanted to share with you: "All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." Charles Schulz
Thank you for allowing our Chapter to do what we do best, reaching children in crisis and giving them extra love and security when they need it the most!
Happy Saturday afternoon. I hope everyone is well and managing to keep cool. Almost the end of August, I will be happy to say goodbye to another Phoenix summer!
Our Covid Numbers are dropping (some days better than others) and I am excited to tell you that I have decided that we can start slowly 'opening' up Project Linus again. Unfortunately, we won't be able to have a Bee but I am putting plans into place for how we can proceed safely.
I have been in touch with my delivery team and I am grateful to all that want to start again. Thank you. I have also been in touch with our facilities. Except for the hospitals, most of them are eager for us to start again. I have made 'appointments' for the team to come to the FSEC office to collect their blankets.
Once we have room, we will have drop off days when you will be able to bring your blankets that you have been storing for the past few months. The days for drop offs will be September 5th (Saturday), September 9th (Wednesday) and September 12th (Saturday). We will be at the building from 9:00am until noon all three days. Unfortunately, you will not be allowed in the building, but will be met at the door by either myself or another blanketeer. You must wear a properly fitted mask (covering both your nose and mouth), put all your blankets and supply donations etc. in closed plastic bags. We will let the bags sit for few days before we will open to process. If there is already one person at the door, please wait in your car until that person has left. As soon as you have dropped off your blankets, we must ask that you immediately return to your car. We need to observe social distancing. This is the only way I can think of that will keep everyone as safe as possible.
For the quilters, our National Mystery Challenge starts on Monday, August 24th. Please don't forget to mention our West Valley Chapter if you sign up for this challenge. If you do, your registration fee will be credited to our chapter. You might remember all the other Mystery Challenge quilts that our members have created in the past. There are photos of some of them on our Photo page if you're interested.
We are collecting Christmas/Winter themed blankets for Billy's Place, which will be needed by the end of November. We will also be collecting for Shop With A Cop and Teen Outreach which as far as I know will still be required. As we all know, things can change but I would like to be ready for these events.
Thank you everyone for being so patient while we are all still battling this pandemic. I am excited to start 'opening' up again even though we will all have to get used to a new normal. I am thankful that we can start giving extra love to our children in crisis once again.
Please keep creating your blankets, we will be needing them!
Good afternoon, I hope you are all well. I was hoping that I had some good news for you. However, as our number of Covid 19 cases are still so very high, it is not the right time to ‘open’ Project Linus.
I have been to the office and Nick (grandson) and I pulled out all bags ready for delivery. We have all of March and April and most of May ready. My plan was to ask my delivery people if they would like to start delivering again, but although this was a great idea, I am not going to ask anyone to put themselves at risk and we will wait a few more weeks.
As for a ‘drop off day’, again I want to wait until our numbers are much lower. So, please hold onto your blankets for a while longer. I did make a few phone calls to some of our recipients and they are willing to receive blankets but I am sure the hospitals are not yet ready. My fear is that we will deliver and then the blankets get thrown out because of the virus!
I, for one, am sad that we can’t proceed as ‘normal’ but hopefully we will see a reduction in cases, with all of us wearing our masks and then we can open the Chapter again. Unfortunately, it will be a long time until we can hold a regular meeting but one day we will meet and have a wonderful celebration of being back to ‘normal’!
Please keep checking for updates. If a miracle happens between now and the middle of August, I will post in the newsletter.
Thank you for your patience - I can’t wait to see you all again! Take care and Stay Safe.
Well, here we are, almost half way through June and we are still suffering from the effects of the virus. I was hoping that we could be planning on our procedure for the next few months with regards to receiving blankets and perhaps start to deliver again. However, seeing that I haven't heard from any of our facilities I will presume that they are not comfortable receiving deliveries. Covid case numbers are rising dramatically and have been for the past week, I am not about to jeopardize any one of our Blanketeers health. Per CDC guidelines, we should not have gatherings of over ten people. As for dropping of blankets at one of our drop off locations, please hold onto your blankets until further notice.
Once things calm down, I will arrange to be at the office to receive drop offs. There will not be a regular meeting, you won't be allowed in the building but are welcome to stop by to unload. I will let you know if and when this will happen, please don't go to the building as no one will be there to collect.
As far as Project Linus is concerned we are still on hold until further notice. I will update in a few weeks. Thank you to those who have been in touch and for working diligently on your blankets.
As always, Stay Safe.
Good afternoon. I hope everyone is keeping well. I am sure that you are all wanting to get back to 'normal,' but as we don't know what normal will be, we will continue to be on hold. I haven't heard from any of our facilities that we normally donate to or heard from any of our 'drop off' locations. As 'things' are slowly opening, I think it is in our best interest to wait another month to make sure that we won't have a 'spike' in Coronavirus numbers. We are going to have to come up with a plan as to how we are going to receive blankets, label them and get them ready for delivery. As you well know, we have many Blanketeers that attend the Bees, safe distancing will not allow us to have so many in the room at one time. I honestly don't know what the best approach will be, by June we may have an idea about the best way to start again.
I will update everyone towards the middle of June to let you know what decisions have been made. Please 'hang in there', I am hoping that we will able to start deliveries again soon.
Please Stay Safe.
APRIL 2020 UPDATE
Due to the continuing circumstances of the global pandemic, I will be cancelling the April Bee. As soon as we are able, I will announce future plans with regards to the Bees and the deliveries of blankets.
Thank you to each and everyone of you that have been in touch with me and my family during the past few weeks. After losing Richard it has been difficult but we appreciate all the love, support, kind messages, cards, texts and emails
I hope you are all staying home, staying safe and following all precautions. Please take this seriously, take care of yourselves. Richard was exposed to the novel Coronavirus through community spread before before any government precautions were put in place.
Stay healthy and I hope to see you all when it is safe for us to be together again.
As time is passing and things are getting more complex, and out of an abundance of caution I have decided to cancel the March Bee! I also have made the decision that ALL blanket deliveries will be suspended until further notice.
I heard from Arrowhead Hospital today and they will decline donations for two months. I had come to that conclusion this morning but then the phone call just reiterated the fact.
This will be a wonderful time to make Project Linus Blankets, finish UFO's (unfinished objects), clean your craft rooms, watch a movie or two or read that book you have been wanting to read. Project Linus National has issued a new pattern "Side by Side" if you are interested in quilting, check this out on the Project Linus Home page. A new pattern, created by Mary Balagna, with these uncertain times in her mind. How many of you are singing "Side by Side"?
Thank you, for everything you do. The health and safety for all of you and the children that we deliver blankets to must be our first consideration.
Take care of yourselves and hopefully this will all be over soon. I will let you know about the April Bee closer to the time.
Good afternoon. I know you will probably all be wondering if I have made a decision or not about having the Bee on March 28th. because of the Coronavirus. To be honest I don't know what to do! Most volunteer things that I am part of have been cancelled until further notice. We still have two weeks to go so maybe we should just 'play it by ear'. I do plan on calling the facilities to see if they even want delivery of blankets. They may not want extra people visiting their establishments. I have heard from National and they are leaving the final decisions to each Coordinator. I realize that we have many Blanketeers that maybe compromised and will not attend the meeting, however, I need to also address the fact that we have a 'large' group! I will NOT be able to send out emails, that is why the newsletter is published on the web site, so please check back in a week!
February's meeting was well attended. Thank you to everyone who attended and a special thank you to all of you who donated to our annual fundraiser - we doubled the required $500! Almost 800 blankets were brought in. How happy this makes me! We are ahead for the year and also have donated to some of our 'once a year deliveries'. Because of space I have already delivered some of these special requests. 39 patriotic quilts have been given to Luke (via the American Legion, thanks Candy!). Candy was thrilled with the quilts. She asked me to say thank you to all of you that took the time to create the beautiful quilts that we donated. We decided that we will continue to donate patriotic quilts to Luke's children of deployed service personnel as long as there is an interest by the quilters among you. I have two bags to take to Billy's Place for their Winter wonderland event in December. We have started to collect for Camp Corral and also for the Williams Syndrome convention. In other words THANK YOU for all your productive help!
Tee shirts will still be available to order until March 22nd. See February's newsletter for the link if you would like to order.
Thank you to those of you that take time to read the newsletter every month. I realize that without a reminder, things slip your mind but as I am not able to email, it's the only way I can contact you.
One of the things that I wrote about last month, was Go With the Flow. Some of you donated supplies and 'make-up' bags for this organization after reading the newsletter. We discussed it at the Bee and a decision was made by nearly everyone in attendance that we should support this very worthwhile cause. There will be a basket set out, by the sign in table, for the donations.
I hope the knitters and crocheters among you have signed up for the latest Knit and Crochet Along that National has put out. You may sign up, donating $15 a pattern which if you would like to, may be designated to our Chapter. Clue number 2 was released yesterday. From what I see on Facebook, everyone is enjoying this latest challenge. Thank you, Judie Agee, for working so hard on these patterns. Yes, I signed up, yes I downloaded first clue and yes, haven't even started it yet!
I will keep you updated with regards to the Corona Virus and what I decide to do. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and don't forget to wash your hands!!! Let's hope the issues will be resolved soon.
Half way through February and I realized (after someone mentioned it) that there are five Saturdays this month. We won't be meeting until February 29th. Happy Leap Year!
January's Bee was awesome! Over 800 blankets brought in, most of February and March's deliveries are bagged ready to be delivered. The Girl Scouts were in attendance, cookies were sold and all in all a very busy, productive day. Thank you for those of you who emailed me to ask if the Girl Scouts were going to attend the Bee as I forgot to mention it in the newsletter!
We have been lucky to receive some fabulous donations of fabric which Jackie F. and I have been sorting. For the quilters among you, we have lots and lots of fabric. ;-) Thanks Jackie.
Tee shirts etc. will be available for order between March 9th and March 22nd. https:/projectlinusshop.org is the link you will need to place your orders.
Bottle caps: Liz M. is collecting water bottle caps (ONLY water bottle caps). They are being collected and 'turned in' so a young boy will be getting treatment for leukemia. Please give them to Liz as I am not collecting them or any other tops/lids anymore. We will continue saving tab tops from soda cans for Ronald McDonald House.
I heard about another organization that I would like to support. It is called Go With the Flow. An organization that collects sanitary supplies for school girls. From what I understand, school nurses are not receiving supplies. Teachers apparently are buying supplies for their students (out of their own pockets) and giving them to the girls. Would you believe that in Phoenix girls don't attend school because they don't have the necessary supplies at home? Yes, in Phoenix! That is appalling. You hear about third world countries collecting these items but here in Phoenix! Anyway, the organization is requesting donations of sanitary items (think teenage girls) and makeup bags to 'pack' and distribute. Our own Sandy W. will collect monthly for us. I hope that you would like to support this worth while cause. Please, let's help these girls who are too embarrassed to attend school during 'that' time of the month. I personally have never heard of Ipsy bags, but they are using these bags as well. (New or gently used, please)
We also still accept toiletries etc for Family Promise, so if you have hotel toiletries that you will never use, or a toothbrush after a trip to the dentist please think about donating. Please don't bring half used bottles!
The part of my 'job' that I hate the most is asking for money!! As most of you know, we have to raise $500 every year to keep the Chapter open. $100 of this money is kept by National to keep our nonprofit status going, paying for insurance and state fees etc and the other $400 is to be used by me to buy labels, brochures, business cards etc. We discussed the 'flat fee' again in January and everyone decided this was the best way to raise the money. In the past, I have asked for a donation from the Blankleteers, $15 (or more if you would like to) due in February. A lot of the attendees donated in January, we are well on our way of reaching the $500. Thank you!
Thank you quilters, for quilting the quilts requested by Candy (American Legion) for Luke Air Force Base. We have some that are finished and I look forward to receiving some more before the April deadline. Also, we have been asked by Williams Syndrome Association to donate blankets for their annual conference to be held in Phoenix in July. The age of these children are 2 - 5 so we will need 50 extra medium sized blankets.
I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. Happy Blanket Making and as always thank you for all you do to support our Chapter of Project Linus.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My goodness the festive season flew by! Today is January 12th and it doesn't seem but a few days since it was Thanksgiving. That being said, I am excited to start a new year of our Chapter of Project Linus. 2019 was a GREAT year for us. We donated 5,427 blankets. Approximately 500 blankets are donated every month (except for December) and then we were able to donate a 'once yearly' donation to Camp Corral, Peoria PD Shop with a Cop, Starting Out Right Arizona Youth Partnership (formerly known as Teen Outreach) and Billy's Place. We will be supporting all of the above again this year. For a complete list of where we donate to please see the recipient page.
November was a GREAT Bee (meeting). We had our annual Pot Luck lunch, with many delicious dishes, 579 blankets were brought in! Even though it was the Thanksgiving weekend, the room was still full! Thank you to everyone who attended or just dropped off their blankets for the month.
We have been supporting Peoria PD's Shop with a Cop program for many years. This year I actually participated in the event! Chris H. accompanied me (thanks Chris). We met at Target at 7:15 on a cold, sunny December morning! Coffee in hand. Things were being set up and organized waiting for the children's arrival. They were being treated to breakfast at Chick-fil-A. AT 8;00, the procession began! Police cars, SWAT vehicle, private cars with lights on, with horns and sirens blaring, were all led by Santa and Mrs.Claus, who by the way were on their three wheeled motor bike! A group photo taken by a drone and the children were off to do their shopping! As they finished they were then escorted to the wrapping area (all their gifts to their families), where volunteers did their wrapping for them. Then they visited a bouncy house, were offered hot chocolate, visited Home Depot and the American Legion craft tables. They received a book, toothbrush etc as well as a brand new bike and helmet and of course their Project Linus blankets, which they picked up on their way home. I am sure that they were wrapped up in them and took a nap as soon as they got in the car! Many tired, excited, overwhelmed children, that will never forget the day! It was a fabulous event, don't know why I haven't been part of it before!
Camp Corral is camp for children of fallen or disabled military personnel. It is held at the YMCA camp ground in Oracle. We were the first Chapter of Project Linus to donate blankets to this camp and since then many Chapters also donate to them at their various camps around the country. The camp is always the end of June/beginning of July. The ages of the campers are 8 - 15, so please, larger blankets are needed. A variety of themes may be used: super heroes, unicorns, llamas, puppies, kittens, race cars and sports (especially soccer). From experience there is not one right or wrong blanket, a boy might pick out a Frozen blanket, a girl a basketball one. Quilts, sewn, crocheted, fleece blankets are all picked and loved!
We have another request for blankets for the summer. The Williams Syndrome National Convention is going to be held in Phoenix in July. They have requested a 100 blankets, however, I don't know the sizes yet. I will be in touch with the organizer of the event and will be able to let you know what sizes will be needed. I think baby to toddler so please keep that in mind.
The reason why I wrote the last two paragraphs is because we are going to have help with both Camp Corral and Williams Syndrome events from the East Valley Chapter. Cindy has graciously agreed to help, which means we will only need about a hundred for Camp Corral and 50 for Williams Syndrome. THANK YOU Cindy!
We had started collecting blankets for Camp Corral but I received a request from our President, Patty, that the Santa Clarita Chapter Coordinator needed blankets to give to the students that were affected not only by wild fires but also the shooting tragedy at the school in her area. I was able to ship out 20 to help the cause but had to use the Camp Corral collection. Sharon personally knows a lot of the 'children' as she teaches in the district affected.
We were lucky to have been donated patriotic fabric by the American Legion. Although this was a donation, we have been asked to help the Legion by making quilts for the children of Luke Air Force Base Personnel who are deployed. Many of you took fabric to create a quilt for this cause. THANK YOU! Jackie F. provided patterns and helped me make the kits. I would like to have the finished quilts by April.
Bottle caps - unfortunately I have not been able to find anyone that will take our collected plastic bottle/liquid caps and tops. So, we will not be collecting them anymore. Please don't bring them to the Bee, I will end up dumping them in the recycle bin! However, Shirley sent me an email today to say that her local Red Robin will accept water bottle caps. I am sure that they won't want to take our two big bags full every month and are limiting to just the water bottle caps, so perhaps you can save them yourselves and donate in a much smaller amount! Arrowhead branch is a possibility to receive them, please call the manager, but Avondale branch is not! I am not sure which restaurant is closest to Shirley.
Project Linus Tee Shirts etc will be offered for sale in March. I will let you know the dates as soon as I know them.
Thank you for not arriving at the Bee before 9:00am I appreciate having the extra time to get ready for the day.
Lastly, THANK YOU to each and everyone of you that takes the time to read this newsletter as well as supporting the Chapter by creating and donating blankets every month. I am excited to be ending my tenth year and starting my eleventh (March) year as Coordinator of this Chapter of Project Linus. I have met so many wonderful people (yes, men as well as women), formed long lasting friendships, unfortunately having lost good friends along the way. How lucky am I to be your 'leader', to be able to reach out to so many children who need so much extra love, to meet so many people that want to do the same. As I have said many times, I couldn't do this job on my own. I hope you know how truly grateful I am.
The next Bee (first of the year) will be January 25th. I look forward to seeing you then.