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PYHA Peewees Become Blanketeers

Article and picture by Patti Cordasco

"This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I'd be nothing, a ship without a rudder."  Linus Van Pelt, A Boy Named Charlie Brown

The power of a blanket, one's very own blanket, is not to be underestimated. Project Linus was based upon this very belief, and this non-profit agency with chapters nationwide is on a mission to "provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets."

The Princeton Youth Hockey Association (PYHA) 12U A 2007 team collected items to donate to the local Mercer County Chapter of Project Linus. Boxes were put up at PYHA's partner rinks, ProSkate and Iceland, where people donated balls of yarn and fleece that will be used by volunteer "blanketeers" to create handmade blankets. The team didn't stop there, though. They also purchased fleece in kid-friendly patterns and colors and became "blanketeers" for an afternoon following their game this past Sunday.

Players, coaches, parents and even some siblings worked in groups of two, three or four, spreading fleece fabric out on every available floor, table and couch, knotting the four sides together to create a double-thick fleece blanket. "They take only handmade blankets, not store bought blankets" explained Melanie Halpin, the team's project coordinator and mother of Reilly. "These blankets are going to go to kids, like us, maybe less fortunate, in situations where they maybe they aren't living in their home and they're living in foster care or they are in a hospital because they have an illness and they need some comfort and love that a homemade blanket can provide."

Pictured from left to right: (back row) Reilly Halpin, Jack Trowbridge, Hart Liu Nowakoski, (third row) Ryan Garlock, Eibhleann Knox, (second row) Evan Jacob, Gavin Nau, (front row) Jack Lawrence, Cal Fenton, Connor Katz. (not pictured) Fife Akinyanmi, Brody Jenne

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