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updated: 7/26/2011 2:06 PM

DuPage County Fair teams with Project Linus to collect blankets for hospitalized children

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By Meghan Keenan
mkeenan@dailyherald.com

No matter the weather this weekend, consider taking a blanket to the DuPage County Fair. It could make a world of difference to a child.

Fair organizers this year are teaming up with Project Linus, a national organization that distributes blankets to children who could use a little comfort and security.

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Those who attend the fair are encouraged to donate homemade blankets, which the local Project Linus chapter will give to children at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield and Edward Hospital in Naperville.

The partnership with Project Linus is part of a relatively new effort for the fair to support a charity organization each year, fair committee member Diane Weber said. The initiative began last year when the fair collected colorful pillowcases that were given to the ConKerr Cancer Foundation and donated to children fighting cancer.

"We wanted to do a service project so we could give back to the community in some way," Weber said. "Last year we did the One Million Pillowcase Challenge and we received 139 pillowcases, which was pretty good for our inaugural year."

For the second effort, organizers chose Project Linus. Based in Bloomington, the nonprofit began in 1995 and was inspired by a magazine story about a 3-year-old girl named Laura who said her security blanket helped her get through chemotherapy treatments.

Since the donation of its first blanket, Project Linus has grown to have chapters in all 50 states, and more than 3 million homemade blankets have been distributed to hospitals, shelters, social service agencies and anywhere else children are in need of a little extra warmth and comfort.

"It gives them something soft to hold on to, something that reminds them of home," Weber said. "They'll be made with bright colors, so hopefully they will be cheerful and encouraging to them."

Those who bring handmade blankets to the ticket window today, Thursday and Friday will receive a free adult admission with a paid adult admission, Weber said.

All blanket styles are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans and receiving blankets.

Specifications and suggestions for making the blankets can be found by clicking on Project Linus on the fair's website, dupagecountyfair.org.

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