A "security blanket" is a comforting feature of most people's childhood, something soft and warm that can be carried around to impart a sense of safety.
A group of volunteers from Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt., recognized the important value of that experience and wanted to help make it a part of growing up for more Lawrence children.
Members of Trinity Treasures a group that works throughout the year crafting gift items to sell at the church's annual Ploughman's Lunch in November recently finished making 30 "cuddle blankets" to donate to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for distribution to sick or needy children.
"If you have children, you know they have a security blanket that they fall in love with and carry with them through life. We're all mothers, and we all feel we've been so fortunate that we have to help those who are less fortunate. This is a form of a handmade hug," said Charlotte Mueller, co-chair of Trinity Treasures.
The church group has dubbed the effort "Project Linus," after a national volunteer organization that distributes cuddle blankets or "blankies" to needy children.
"That's where I got the idea," Mueller said. "We began around the first of the year. We've made 30 of these little blankets; they're quilted and finished around the edges in bright colors. They're something that children can take home with them from the hospital."
Gerry Miller, Trinity Treasures co-chair, believed the blankets which measure 18 inches by 24 inches would be a source of comfort for hospitalized children.
"They're something cuddly to have, something to drag around," she said.
The Rev. Jonathon Jensen, Trinity Episcopal's rector, blessed the blankets at the altar last Sunday, in preparation for their delivery to LMH.
"I blessed the hands that made them and the bodies whom they will keep warm," he said.
The volunteer group has held a number of the cuddle blankets in reserve, which they will give to Jensen and his wife, Natalie, to take with them on a trip to Russia.
The Jensens planned to give them to needy children and orphans in St. Petersburg. While there, the couple would visit Natalie Jensen's family members. She is a native of Russia.
Mueller and Miller said this was only the first batch of cuddle blankets to come from Trinity Treasures, and that it would likely be a continuing project for members.
The group also planned to donate blankets to the Salvation Army in Lawrence.
Members of the group had no plans to stop making the blankets any time soon.
"I think the bug's bit them," Mueller said.