Daisy Buck, 84, isn't much for sitting around doing nothing.
She has patched her own roof when it sprung a leak, and for 30 years, while working full-time, she and her best friend delivered meals to the elderly for Meals on Wheels.
About a year ago, her daughter suggested Buck help the women who make blankets for Project Linus. Since then, Buck has crocheted edges around yards of fleece that are destined to comfort ill or traumatized children in the Bluegrass.
"They bring me the cut-out pieces and I take a pair of scissors and punch holes around the edges every ¼ inch," Buck said. "I do that while sitting in front of the TV, instead of just watching the idiot box."
She and about a dozen other volunteers of the Central Kentucky chapter of Project Linus meet from 10 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of every month at St. Michael's Episcopal Church to make blankets or attach labels to those donated by other volunteers. The Iowa mother of one local volunteer makes about 500 blankets a year.
On Oct. 15, the local chapter is hosting its annual Make-a-Blanket Day. Everyone is welcome to help make blankets. If you have finished, handmade blankets, bring them, and they will be added to the supply.
Want to help? Bring sharp scissors, 11⁄3 yards of child-friendly fleece, sewing machines and supplies, or crocheting and knitting supplies to St. Michael's, 2025 Bellefonte Drive, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will not be provided, so bring a sack lunch or money for pizza.
Project Linus is named for Linus van Pelt, Charlie Brown's friend in the Peanuts comic strip who clung to a security blanket.
The non-profit organization began in 1995 when Karen Loucks read an article in Parade Magazine about a young cancer patient. She began making blankets for the Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Centers in Denver. and the program spread from there. Now based in Bloomington, Ill., Project Linus has hundreds of chapters in all 50 states and has given more than 3 million blankets to children in hospitals, and those who have been taken into state care or have suffered other traumatic episodes.
Mary Ann Overturf of Frankfort said she and Donna Pizzuto and Judy Moore founded the Central Kentucky chapter nine years ago, after her pregnant daughter insisted she had enough baby blankets.
Overturf and other blanketeers — as volunteers are called — sew, crochet or knit blankets for newborns and children up to 18 years old. Some are made of fleece, others are quilts. All must be washable and "what you would want to give to your child or grandchild," Overturf said.
There are no economic limits for those who receive the blankets, she said.
The blankets are sent to about a dozen organizations in the area, including the Central Baptist Hospital's pediatric unit; Shriner's Hospital; The Nest; Children's Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass; and PRIDE, the Perinatal Recover, Infant Development and Education program for substance-abusing pregnant women, postpartum mothers and their at-risk babies.
When Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff at Blue Grass Airport in August 2006, Overturf sent a plea to the national headquarters for blankets to give to the children gathering at The Campbell House that day.
"That Sunday afternoon," she said, "I started getting emails from coordinators around the country, saying they could send three; another group could send 10, on and on."
She delivered blankets throughout the week, promising to bring more if needed.
"I gave every blanket I received in the mail — all 136 of them — to the crash victims' families. That was the exact number we needed."
Locally, Overturf said, a lot of the blankets and afghans are made by Sunday school classes, by quilting groups and school groups. Usually, blankets remain in the areas where they were made.
Buck plans to join the blanketeers Oct. 15 and will bring the blankets she has completed, along with her willingness to work on more.
"She is so faithful," Overturf said. "We give her the fleece, and she is there for every meeting."
That is comforting, especially for the children who will be wrapped in her handiwork one day.