Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan today announced a new partnership with Project Linus to provide blankets to children in Middlesex Country who experience an opioid-related, or other trauma.
Somerville is the first community to partner with District Attorney Ryan and Project Linus. As part of the two-part initiative, the Somerville Police Department will immediately begin handing out blankets to children and seniors from the Somerville Council on Aging will be volunteering their time to create new, handmade blankets that will be distributed both locally and across the Greater Boston Area.
"This initiative is another way our office is partnering with police departments to provide early and informed care to high-risk children who have experienced trauma, specifically opioid-related trauma," said District Attorney Ryan. "Starting today we will be putting handmade blankets into the hands of first-responders across Middlesex County that will then be distributed to these children to provide a sense of security and help them cope after experiencing a traumatic event."
Through this program Project Linus will also provide blankets to all children identified through Project C.A.R.E, a partnership involving the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the Lowell Police Department, Lowell Fire Department, Trinity Ambulance and the Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell to provide a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week rapid response trauma-informed intervention for children who witness a parent or loved one suffer an overdose.
Early and appropriate trauma-informed care can help children cope with trauma, build resiliency and help reduce the cyclical effects of substance misuse.
"The Greater Boston Chapter is so pleased to partner with Project C.A.R.E. to provide "handmade hugs" to the children in our community. We look forward to a successful partnership with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office," added Lucy Maiullari, Greater Boston Chapter Coordinator, Project Linus.
Blankets will also be provided to Middlesex County Chiefs of Police and other first-responders across the County to distribute when children have experienced other types of trauma such as witnessing a violent crime, loss of parent or sibling or displacement from their home.
The announcement, made yesterday to over 100 seniors at the annual Valentine's Day luncheon hosted by the Somerville Police Department, also marks the launch of an effort to recruit volunteers to help support and sustain this initiative. Some Somerville seniors arrived at yesterday's luncheon ready to help with their knitting materials in hand, while others came with already-made blankets to be donated to the program.
After the announcement, Somerville Chief of Police David Fallon took a supply of more than 100 blankets back to the station, which officers will begin distributing immediately.
"We are honored to partner with District Attorney Ryan and Project Linus on this initiative," said Chief Fallon. "This is an important step in addressing the impact that the opioid crisis has on the entire community. Through this program, we are providing early intervention to help some of the most vulnerable victims of the opioid epidemic, children."
Project Linus is a 100% volunteer organization dedicated to creating and delivering new handmade blankets to any children who may be in need of some extra comforting. Blankets can be knitted, crocheted, quilted, or hand-tied by volunteers of all ages and abilities and are delivered to children in hospitals throughout the world or to any child in need of consolation.
You can find more information about Project Linus and its Greater Boston Chapter at www.projectlinus.org.