Teens put hands and hearts to work
by Jessica Langdon
Laura Heiman of St. Michael Parish in Axtell snipped and tied as she talked.
Making a blanket to keep somebody warm turned out to be easier than she expected, as she and fellow parishioners quickly settled into a rhythm as they tied the fleece camouflage blanket.
Laura and her friends were among the volunteers who blanketed this particular service booth with helping hands during the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis.
Victory Park offered several opportunities for the teens to lend a helping hand.
From baking cookies for prisoners to sewing dresses out of pillowcases for those in need, there were plenty of projects to go around.
Making blankets was a popular way to help for both girls and guys.
“Every time one is completed, they ring a bell,” said adult volunteer Mary Legan, who belongs to St. Michael Parish in Greenville, Ind.
“Our hands are God’s hands,” she said.
But the teens put their hands to good use in more ways than one.
When the bell rings, everyone at the table stops working for a moment, explained Legan, makes the sign of the cross and says a Hail Mary.
The teens prayed with a lot of people in mind — the person who would receive the blanket, his or her family, and every person who had been involved in the making of the blanket.
This project is linked to the aptly named Project Linus (of the comic strip “Peanuts” fame), and the fleece blankets will go to hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. Some of the blankets will comfort babies; others might end up wrapped around the shoulders of the elderly, or offer extra warmth to people undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis, said Legan.
She pointed to a small square of fleece she wore. Each person who makes a blanket receives one.
“Here at the conference, if you see anyone else with one of these, it means you prayed for them and they prayed for you,” she said.
Laura was impressed by the number of teens who cared enough to sacrifice their time to make a difference.
Other members of her group, she said, had decided to help raise funds for mosquito nets instead. The nets would help protect people from disease in malaria-prone places.
“I just like to see everybody around here helping others out,” said Laura.
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