June 29, 2016 •
State and Federal Communications Giving Back: Mitzvah Day and Project Linus
One of the benefits of working for State and Federal Communications is the availability of Charitable Service Hours. These hours are provided by the company so employees can volunteer in the community and help out on various service projects.
This year I used my hours to work on a project for Mitzvah Day. Mitzvah Day Akron is a day devoted to helping various groups in the area. Started by Temple Israel in 2002, it has become a community service day involving many faith-based and secular organizations. In 2016, 14 organizations participated in this day of caring and service.
The project I worked on is Project Linus, which makes no-sew fleece blankets for patients at Akron Children’s Hospital. This was my fourth year working on this project. This year I spent three days assisting the project leader, Ruth Huber, (full disclosure, we are related) in preparing for the work to be done on Mitzvah Day and in finishing the blankets and delivering them to Akron Children’s Hospital.
The first day of prep work was mostly spent buying the materials. While it may sound fun, it actually requires a large amount of time. Shopping took a good part of the day because we needed to go to multiple stores to find enough material in a variety of colors and patterns. We ended the day with enough material for more than 40 blankets.
Finalizing the volunteer lists, sending volunteers reminders, and handling administrative duties rounded out the day. Given my writing and computer skills, I was drafted to handle the emailing.
The second prep day was spent preparing the material for the volunteers. While we bought it cut to size, we still had to remove the selvage. On each piece of fleece there are two edges where you can see machine marks from when it was woven. That area along the edge has to be trimmed off before the blanket can be made. Also, any uneven edges have to be trimmed so each blanket starts with four straight edges. Trimming took almost all day, as there were over 80 edges to trim and only three of us working.
On Mitzvah Day, Project Linus had 10 volunteers who produced 39 blankets.
The final day of work took place after Mitzvah Day. We finished four blankets, sent thank-you notes to the volunteers, and delivered the blankets to Akron Children’s Hospital so they could be distributed to the children.
And then we did a final good deed. All of the selvages we were left with didn’t get thrown away. Instead, we cut the long pieces into shorter lengths and tied them together: instant kitten toys. These we delivered to Kitten Krazy, a nonprofit rescue shelter in Medina.
All told, the volunteers of Project Linus were able to make dozens of kids and kittens happy.
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