Linus Blanket Service Project

Students from the OTC Middle College have just completed a unit studying the concepts of fair trade practices, sustainability, social responsibility and community service in Ms. Sandra Pierce’s English class.  They have learned about the importance of helping producers and farmers in developing countries gain greater equity in the marketplace, which promotes sustainability.

Students recently visited with local merchants who are involved in fair trade practices and social responsibility. Shawn Askinosie, from Askinosie Chocolate, shared how this process works by sourcing 100% of their beans directly from the farmers in various foreign countries, which cuts out the middleman.  He has single handedly improved the quality of life in entire communities.  A presentation by the Coffee Ethic introduced students to coffees from around the world. They are setting new standards for local businesses in implementing processes and purchasing products that are reusable, renewable or recyclable. Local entrepreneur, Bryan Simpson, owner of 5 Pound Apparel, provided students with an alternative view on developing a good business model by giving back.  For every t-shirt purchased, he donates 5 pounds of fortified peanut butter used to treat malnourished children in Nepal.  Finally, a visit to Drury University provided a first-hand look at a community garden project mobilized by students and volunteers to get acquainted with social, economic and environmental issues related to agriculture, food production and distribution of food to those in need.

As a result of their research and field trips, students wrote proposals for community service projects.  Out of the many ideas generated, the Linus Project, which supports making blankets for critically ill and abused children, was selected.  On Thursday, October 18th Middle College students walked to Silver Springs Park pavilion to measure, cut and tie 30 fleece baby blankets.  While the weather proved to be chilly, students shared smiles and laughter while completing the blankets knowing that their efforts would bring a little extra warmth and comfort to a critically ill child in need of a special “lovey.”