Alice McNally is turning her hobby for crafting into a force for good.

As a member of the Townsend Senior Center's knitting club, she was part of a community effort to make blankets for children who have experienced trauma. Between April and July, the center donated about 50 handmade blankets to Project Linus, a nonprofit that is working with the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

"When people need something and you can give it, that makes it better," the 82-year-old said. "It's a good thought to know you're bringing comfort to someone."

About a year ago, District Attorney Marian Ryan started a partnership called Project CARE to provide trauma intervention services to children who have witnessed overdoses.

82-year-old Alice McNally (top right) sits with the Townsend senior center knitting club. She made blankets to donate to Project Linus. NASHOBA VALLEY
82-year-old Alice McNally (top right) sits with the Townsend senior center knitting club. She made blankets to donate to Project Linus. NASHOBA VALLEY VOICE/MINA CORPUZ
Project Linus provides those children with blankets, which can help them cope.

Ryan is in the process of expanding the blanket program countywide. So far, she has visited 12 communities and has given blankets to first responders to give to children they encounter who have experienced other trauma, like the loss of a parent or displacement from home.

Pepperell was the first senior center Ryan visited in the Nashoba Valley.

During her visit, she talked about how popular the blankets have become and how her office needs help collecting more.

Ryan showed a lap-sized knotted pink fleece blanket as an example of a blanket to donate. Her office will pick up completed ones and distribute them to police and fire stations around Middlesex County.


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It can take more more than a week to make a blanket depending on how big is, the difficulty of the pattern, and material used to make it. About a week after Ryan visited the senior center, one blanket was complete, said Director Susan McCarthy.

In Townsend, the senior center is still receiving blankets even though the knitting club has moved on to other projects.

Katie Petrossi, outreach coordinator for the center, has a box of 10 blankets in her office that she plans to bring to the Pepperell center for the district attorney's office to collect.

"It's been nice (for the seniors) able to put their crafting skills to good use," she said. "Often, younger adults can write a check for a cause but older adults can't because they're on a fixed income ... One way they can help is through donation and crafting."