Blankets bring comfort to Oxford students

Leonard Elementary students show off their ‘Hug’ blankets from Penzey’s Spices. Photo from 2nd grade teacher Jennifer Coggins.

By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Hundreds of handmade blankets were sent to Oxford Community Schools so Oxford High School students can have a blanket of their own.
Chapters of Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that provides new handmade blankets to children in need, donated more than 1,000 blankets. Named for the beloved “Peanuts” character Linus who is comforted by his blanket, the organization’s mission is 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 and afghans, lovingly created by volunteers.”
500 blankets from the Troy chapter were distributed to high school students last month during the backpack and belongings pickup.
“We continue to feel the outpouring of love and support from our own community, as well as those across Michigan and the country,” said Superintendent Tim Throne. “These blankets are a reminder for our students that they are not alone, and that people everywhere are sharing their warmth and cheering them on. Thank you, Project Linus.”
Another 500 blankets were sent from 2,300 miles away in Santa Clarita, California, where a tragedy of their own occurred two years ago. On Nov. 14, 2019, a Saugus High School student shot five classmates, killing two, before killing himself. At that time, Project Linus donated hundreds of blankets to Saugus students to provide some comfort in their time of grief.
“The support from Project Linus was immeasurable,” Jim Klipfel, a social studies teacher at Sagus who helped organize the Oxford donation effort, told Santa Clarita’s local newspaper, The Signal. “The students were in such a low spot that those blankets and the love from the staff, from the community, from outreach groups like Project Linus, were critical.”
For her Eagle Scout Project Anna Fineberg, who is also a Saugus High student, organized volunteers to crochet 160 blankets for Project Linus. 80 of those blankets went to Oxford.
“The comfort and security that those blankets brought back to our campus were amazing,” Fineberg told The Signal. “To give that feeling to Oxford students, it’s magical.” She is the first Eagle Scout from her all-female troop 2019.
OHS students who have not received a blanket can request them through a form on the Oxford Community Schools website.
Meanwhile, another initiative donated blankets to each Leonard Elementary student. Penzey’s Spices, a Wisconsin spice retailer with a local store in Beverly Hills, runs a charitable program called “Hug Blanket.” For every blanket Penzey’s sells, it donates one to someone in need. Before taking the blankets home, Leonard students made forts in their classrooms under their desks.

Anna Fineberg, an Eagle Scout from California, donated 80 handmade blankets to Oxford students. She is pictured here with her boxed contribution and Sharon Garvar, local chapter coordinator for Project Linus.

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