Get into the holiday spirit by giving back. Find out how you can get involved with these local organizations making a difference in
Written by charlotte tallman
A Blanket of Comfort: Project Linus
Once a month, a group of community women get together and gather blankets to offer a bit of comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. The group (known affectionately as Project Linus “blanketeers” to the first responders, nonprofits, and medical personnel who hand out their donated blankets) have one mission: To provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children.
“Kids are in the hospital? They get a blanket. Someone’s family is involved in a domestic disturbance? Blanket. Nothing can give comfort like having a homemade blanket,” says Rachel Courtney of Pretty Nice Creations. Rachel has been involved in Project Linus since college, and over the past 15 years has made more than 200 blankets, many times depending on the generosity of others who pass on unneeded yarn to her.
The group gathers an average of 250 blankets each month and then separates them into bags for 44 organizations in Doña Ana County. Project Linus needs new, washable, handmade quilts, Afghans, or fleece blankets. They also gratefully accept blanket-making materials, postage stamps, cash donations, and gift cards to either Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts or Hobby Lobby to purchase supplies.
Get Involved: Contact Las Cruces Chapter Director Susan Stoltzfus at 575-526-3695 or email@example.com. Mail donations to Susan Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 116, Mesilla Park, NM 88047. Visit facebook.com/projectlinuslc for more information.
Heading Off Hunger: Aggie Cupboard
The Aggie Cupboard at New Mexico State University is a free and private service that distributes nonperishable food to students, staff, and faculty in need of emergency assistance. “It’s hard to study when you’re hungry,” says Lori Martinez, an NMSU social worker and founder of the campus food pantry. “When I get feedback from our clients, many of them tell me that this support helps make it possible for them to stay at NMSU and be academically successful.”
Gifts to the Aggie Cupboard, both financial donations and non-perishable food items (non-refrigerated nutritious food staples such as peanut butter, vegetables, soups, beans, rice, pasta, and sauce) help sustain and grow a vital resource for the NMSU community.
Get Involved: Food donation drop offs are accepted Thursdays from 9am to noon at Regents Row B115 on the NMSU campus. If you need volunteers from the Aggie Cupboard to pick up your donation, or need to arrange an alternate drop off time, contact them at 575-646-2731 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial gifts can also be made through the NMSU Foundation’s crowdfunding platform at makeastatement.nmsu.edu/project/2816.