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DAR's homemade blankets to benefit residents

Members of the Augustin Clayton Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution call them "love blankets."

The Jonesboro Police Department calls them "comforters," and use them to help soothe the children –– and elderly residents –– its officers encounter while working cases involving domestic violence, or multi-car accidents, or other traumatic and stressful situations.

Members of the organization made, and donated, 10-fleece "love blankets" to the Jonesboro Police Department, on Thursday, at the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum Community Center.

"I think it's marvelous," said Jonesboro Police Chief Franklin Allen. "I think it's an absolutely wonderful contribution, and I think also, it will fill a void in resources that are sometimes overlooked."

He explained that, often, some resources are not thought about, until a situation occurs and demands them. The chief said the blankets will help police officers in extending some comfort to children, and will also serve as an ice-breaking tool.

"It will help our officers establish good community relations," he said, adding that the blankets will be wrapped around children, and will also be used for the elderly being assisted police.

Allen said he is thankful for the generous donation. "I think it's wonderful these ladies are taking their time and their resources to do something like this to make our job better," he said.

Phyllis Lawson, regent of the organization's local chapter, said the love blankets were made in the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum Community Center. She said 10 of the organization's members created the blankets in ten hours. They are adorned with cartoon images, such as penguins, dogs and the sun.

Lawson said the 45-inches-long, 60-inches-wide blankets were not difficult, nor tedious, because each member purchased the fabric, and cut it to appropriate size. In January 2011, Lawson said, members will create more blankets for the police department, and donate them that same month.

"I think it's a great thing, because when you are in a traumatic situation with a small child ... it will have a lasting [impression] on a child, and it really builds a bond with the community and police," said Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox, who was on hand for the donation.

According to Lawson, blanket donations the chapter began before 2003, and were given to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that accepts blanket donations for children who are traumatized, seriously ill, or otherwise in need.

In 2005, she said, the organization gave blankets to veterans housed in nursing homes, in Decatur. From then on, the blankets were called "love blankets," she added.

Since the organization's chapter is chartered in Jonesboro, Lawson said members decided to gear their focus locally, in Clayton County, in 2009, when they donated blankets to both the Clayton County Police Department and Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services.

"It's just a way for a community organization to connect with the police department and form a partnership," added Chief Allen.