Its a new year and Middlebury Sew-N-Vac is helping comfort Vermont children with illnesses through its Make-A-Blanket Day, a part of the national Project Linus effort. Local 4-H Clubs and Girl Scouts are also involved with the sewing machine retailer. And special kudos go to Middlebury Sew-N-Vac for spearheading the activities of this important charity in Addison County. Linus, the popular Peanuts cartoon-strip character immortalized by artist Charles Schultz, always carried his favorite security blanket. Linus has been the namesake of Project Linus and its chapters located across the United States since 1995. With chapters in all 50 states, Project Linus continues to grow. Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug. On Christmas Eve 1995 an article titled Joy to the World appeared in Parade Magazine. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Eddie Adams. Part of the article featured a petite, downy haired child. She had been going through intensive chemotherapy and stated that her security blanket helped her get through the treatments. After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver's Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born. Locally, quilt goods, sewing clubs, school groups, novices and experienced sewers are invited to Middlebury Sew-N-Vaca sewing machine and related accessories retailer located on Route 7 Southin making quilts, afghans and fleece blankets for children in crisis. No experience is needed to take part. Middlebury Sew-N-Vac is serving as the collection site. Linus volunteers, known as "blanketeers", provide new, handmade, washable blankets to be given as gifts to seriously ill and traumatized children and teens, up to age 18. It is Project Linus' policy to accept blankets of all sizes, depending on the needs of the local chapter. All styles of blankets are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. Carla Berno, owner of Middlebury Sew-N-Vac, says community involvement is vital to the success of Project Linus in Vermont. But volunteers need to act quickly; blanketeers have until Feb. 16. To get more details about Middlebury Sew-N-Vacs Project Linus efforts as well as a related in-store drawing, call Berno at 388-3559.