WILLIAMSTOWN -- A group of local seniors are setting an ambitious goal for doing their part to help children.
Last May, the seniors in the Harper Center's Friendship Club donated 33 blankets to Project Linus, a nonprofit that provides blankets for children in need.
"This year, I got it in my head that we need to give Project Linus 75 blankets by December," the club's president, Maggie Guiden, said Thursday.
The nonprofit, based in Bloomington, Ill., has local chapters in all 50 states. Volunteers around the country knit or sew blankets for children who are sick or in need. Blankets are then collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies or wherever needed.
"A year ago, I said we have to have a project that's good for the Friendship Club," she said. "My daughter said, why don't you do Project Linus?"
Prior to its participation in Project Linus, local seniors banded together through the club for other community members. One project took place following Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 after the storm flooded and destroyed 150 homes in The Spruces Mobile Home Park.
"We gave everyone who was homeless in The Spruces a lap robe," Guiden said.
There are roughly 10 regular members in the club, Guiden said, but some do their work at their own homes.
"Some people will take the 56 squares it takes for a quilt home and sew them together," she said.
Very little material is purchased for the blankets -- the majority of it comes from donations.
"People are very generous," she said.
The group will accept any material for blankets, including fabric, yarn, and batting, the material inside of a blanket.
"I tell everybody even if you only have only a little bit, we'll take it," she said. "We put three colors together in one square. We don't throw anything away."
And volunteers are always welcome, Guiden said.
"If anyone wants to come, we'd love to have them. They don't need to have any great experience," she said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Harper Center at 413-458-8250 or Guiden at 413-458-3478. The Harper Center is at 118 Church St.
Directions to make the blankets can be provided, Guiden said.
The group will meet again at 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, and Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Harper Center.
To learn more about Project Linus, visit www.projectlinus.org.
To reach Edward Damon,