By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – An all-school, hands-on community service project at the Marion E. Zeh School resulted in the donation of 39 homemade fleece blankets to Project Linus.
Zeh School has always held an annual community service project, but this is the first year that it has benefitted Project Linus. The school easily surpassed its goal of 25 blankets with a final count of 39.
Project Linus is a nonprofit organization that donates homemade blankets to kids in hospitals, those who are assisted by social service agencies or police departments, or are living in shelters.
School nurse Sue Berger spearheaded the project after learning about the program from a friend.
“The blankets are like warm hugs for sick or traumatized kids,” she said.
Berger enjoyed seeing students’ excitement as they became a part of the project’s success.
“They learned many lessons,” she said. “They were very mindful of who the recipients were going to be.”
Each classroom from grades Pre-K through fifth grade completed at least one blanket the
week before the school vacation break. It was one project that coincided with an exciting school week that included a PJ Day, and a celebration of Valentine’s Day, the 100th day of school, and an early national Make a Blanket day.
The funds to purchase the materials needed to make the blankets were donated by Capital Environmental of Northborough, which is owned by Berger’s husband.
Students referred to the blanket-making week as Blanket Palooza. Fifth-grade student Lena Johnson said it was fun but tricky as four students were working on one blanket at the same time and it required teamwork.
Fourth-grade student Sophia Hjerpe said she enjoyed working on the project because it was for such a good cause. Her class decided to collect extra money so they would be able to purchase additional materials. They succeeded and were able to make a total of nine blankets as a class.
The blanket-making also connected the older students with the younger students as the fourth- and fifth-graders assisted the lower grades.
“The conversations among the students as they worked on the blankets were inspiring,” said Berger. “They were discussing all the hopes and dreams for the kids who would receive the blanket. I am very proud of the students. The conversations I overheard were little miracles.”
The students and staff were so happy with the process and results that Berger said that it is a project that will be repeated next year and they will probably set the goal a bit higher.
More information about Project Linus can be found at www.projectlinus.org.