Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Knitters Nationwide Put Hats on Needy Heads Ten-Year-Old Nonprofit Program Generated 363,600 Caps in 1992

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Knitters Nationwide Put Hats on Needy Heads Ten-Year-Old Nonprofit Program Generated 363,600 Caps in 1992

Article excerpt

IT is a Sunday afternoon in January. Outside, dirty snowbanks and leaden skies create a dreary landscape. But inside the Creative Warehouse yarn shop, color and cheer abound as seven women sit around a table, knitting. They have come from nearby suburbs for one purpose: to make warm caps for needy children to wear on wintry days like this.

Needles click. Fingers fly. Conversation flows, with only occasional pauses as knitters count stitches or check tension. Gradually, as the afternoon wears on, balls of yarn grow smaller and hats take shape. Once the caps are finished and topped off with a yarn pompom, shop owner Elissa Lazdowsky will deliver them to local charities as part of a nationwide program called Caps for Kids.

Claire Henley of Wayland, Mass., explains her presence at this monthly session by saying, "I just felt I wanted to do something for someone else. We who have enough need to be reaching out to those who don't."

Another knitter, Linda Nolan of Needham, who is working on a royal blue hat, adds, "Knitting caps may seem like a small thing, because by yourself you don't make much of a contribution. But together you can do a lot."

Just how much knitters like these across the country are doing for needy children becomes evident as Bonnie Greene of Concord, Calif., explains the success of the nonprofit program she founded 10 years ago. As the owner of a knitting shop, Yarn Country, she wanted to find a way for customers to use yarn left over at the end of a project.

"I kept thinking, `What can you do with one ball of yarn?' " Ms. Greene recalls. "I realized that you can knit a cap for a child." She put together a folder containing free patterns, then asked customers to knit a hat for underprivileged children.

Response grew quickly. Within six months, Greene had collected 500 caps. Word of the program spread. Now more than 300 shops across the United States participate, each giving anywhere from five caps to thousands to charities in their area. In 1992 the program generated 363,600 handmade caps nationwide. Some participants also make mittens, afghans, baby layettes, scarves, and sweaters.

Today Greene is in Dallas, accepting a President's Award from the Hobby Industry of America for her contributions to poor children. …

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