Stitching together connections

Senior bonds with family and friends while volunteering for a unique charity


Photo by Mark Hilburn

After presenting tie blankets for Project Linus to Senior Class Board as a service activity, senior Alaina Anderson cuts fabric for her peers to make into a comforting gift for a child in need. Anderson has donated her time to the charity since the age of 7 and frequently introduces others to the volunteer opportunity. “Partnering with Project Linus allowed us the opportunity to make more blankets that I could on my own,” Anderson said. “I like to get more people involved so that they can have an impact on their community too.”

Kaitlin Reynolds, News Director

When sick, people depend on medical treatment and the comfort of a warm blanket to bring them back to good health. Senior Alaina Anderson has made the latter a reality for those struggling with ailments by turning her passion for building blankets into a means of helping.

Since the age of 7, Anderson has donated her time to Project Linus, a charitable organization that turns fabric into blankets, and donates them to local hospitals for sick children. She started off by tying together fleece blankets and learning the basics of stitching, now she has worked her way up to sewing complex quilts: all of which have gone to comforting the ill.

 “I think that it is really important to give back to our community,” Anderson said. “Since it is something that I love doing so much and I have so many blankets, I think it is good to give them to kids in need who can really use them.”

Anderson didn’t find this unique volunteer opportunity alone, her aunt Susan Young went through the process of working with Project Linus alongside Anderson and together they navigated the aspects of blanket making. An aspiring quilter herself, Young took the opportunity to become closer with her niece and give back to the suffering, all while gaining a new talent.

“I had always thought it would be fun to learn how to quilt and I wanted to volunteer when I retired,” Young said. “I was able to tie the two together and Alaina got nominated with me. We learned together. I had never done any volunteer work either so we made simple quilts to begin with and learned how to tie.”

Frequently the two collect fabric from the organization and shop for their own in order to form their quilts. They spend time with one another in all aspects of the blanket making process: creating patterns, sewing, assembling their creations and stitching on the final Project Linus label. 

“It has definitely helped us bond because it’s something we can do together and is something we both enjoy,” Anderson said. “When I get to do it with other people, whether that is with my aunt or friends I get involved, I like to kind of spread the message of giving back to the community.”

Anderson has extended her hobby past just making blankets on her own. Through clubs that she is involved with, Anderson has been able to introduce others to the charity and its benefits.

“When we started talking about a service activity for Senior Class Board to do, Alaina brought up her connection to Project Linus and we were happy to get involved,” Senior Class Board co-President Audrey Dugan said. “Everybody really enjoyed it. It was an easy activity for us to do as a group that we knew was going towards a good cause.”

With over 200 blankets and quilts created since she started working with Project Linus and more on the way, Anderson has made an impact on those receiving the blankets while simultaneously creating both a bond with her aunt and bringing others to join her.