Blankets are not only a source of warmth, but they can be a source of comfort too. That's especially true for children going through adversity.
One woman in Trempealeau County is helping give them both with a little bit of cotton and a lot of love.
At Linda De Long's house out in Trempealeau County, blankets are a rare sight to see.
“When they're here, I'm collecting them for the next time I distribute them,” said De Long.
She’s affectionately known as "The blanket Lady".
“Yeah,” said De Long. “And I love it, I love it.”
De Long has always had a soft spot in her heart for children and blankets.
“My grandchildren, all three of them are blanket babies, and I've seen how much pleasure it brings them,” said De Long. “So I got thinking about what if they didn't have their blankets because of some tragedy, so I wanted to make blankets to give to children who have some kind of a problem.”
She soon took her idea and patched in to be the area's Project Linus coordinator.
She collects blankets from about a dozen volunteers or "Blanketeers" from all over the community who make them and donate them for children in need.
“Knitted blankets, crocheted blankets, quilted blankets, fleece blankets, single fleece blankets, double fleece blankets -- any of that, I think, there's a child for every blanket,” said De Long.
And one by one she makes sure every blanket has the "child friendly" seal of approval.
“I sew this little tag on and it says, ‘Project Linus,’” said De Long.
The small pile of blankets she has now may not seem like much now, but it will soon grow into a mound of about 50 or 60 in the next month.
De Long will then deliver them to the Salvation Army in La Crosse, both local hospitals, Gundersen Lutheran and Mayo Clinic Heath systems, Catholic Charities as well as Human Services in both Trempealeau and La Crosse.
“It's a hug,” said De Long. “It's security, and for some children, it's warmth because they have nothing. They have no bed, they have no home, and so this is the only thing they actually own.”
In the past four years she's collected and delivered more than 900 blankets to children in need.
De Long's next delivery will be sometime in November.
If you know of a child who could use a blanket or if you'd like to help make blankets, contact De Long by e-mail at email@example.com.