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Culver’s diners can become blanketeers for a day in Buffalo Grove

The Culver’s restaurant in Buffalo Grove is hosting the annual Project Linus fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 20. A percentage of sales will help blanketeers keep making blankets for children and teens in need. | Provided

The Culver’s restaurant in Buffalo Grove is hosting the annual Project Linus fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 20. A percentage of sales will help blanketeers keep making blankets for children and teens in need. | Provided

Volunteers will be at the Culver’s restaurant in Buffalo Grove from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, May 20, encouraging people to say “Project Linus” when placing their food order.

By saying the name of the organization, customers will get up to 20 percent of their sale donated to the Project Linus’ North & Central Chicagoland chapter, which has made and delivered more than 100,000 blankets to hospitals and organizations, such as the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center and A Safe Place.

“The blankets we make and deliver comfort children in crisis,” chapter coordinator Judi Goldman said.

This is Project Linus’ biggest fundraiser, and the third the Wisconsin-based burger chain has hosted for them. The proceeds help Project Linus volunteers, who are also called blanketeers, purchase the materials for the blankets.

During the fundraising event at the Buffalo Grove Culver’s, 450 McHenry Road, customers will get a chance to win one of two blankets being raffled. Children also can become blanketeers for a day by decorating precut muslin squares with fabric paint and markers.

“The blanketeers will sew those squares together to make a beautiful blanket for a lucky boy or girl to have,” said volunteer Denni Hughes of Highland Park.

Hughes has been making quilts and delivering them for six years. She tries to make her blankets more masculine because teenage boys need a warm blanket to comfort them when they’re sick and scared, too, she said.

“It’s their security. We’ve been told it’s like their best friend,” Hughes said.

The children and teens chose a blanket they like out of many different sizes, colors, prints and pictures. Many times the patients travel with them inside the hospital as they go from one department to another for medical tests.

Each Project Linus blanket has a tag sewn on it with a picture and message from the Peanuts character: “Made with tender loving care for Project Linus.”

Maria Dickson, a counselor at the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee, said the blankets have often proved helpful in difficult situations.

“It can play an important part in the healing process,” Dickson said. “It’s very significant to them because at one point they didn’t have a choice or security.”

Dickson said the children get even more excited when she tells them to look at the tag on the blankets.

“They can’t believe someone who doesn’t even know them cares so much for them,” Dickson said.

When making the blankets at monthly gatherings, Hughes said the blanketeers often imagine the children who will receive them. Their creations are inspired by what they think children and teens will enjoy to have wrapped around them.

“There’s a blanket for everybody,” Hughes said.

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