By Deb Silverthorn
Knit one, purl two, serve thousands.
That’s what The Legacy Willow Bend Knit and Crochet Club and other volunteers have done in creating 4,584 hat and scarf sets for babies, children and adults, as well as blankets, washcloths and dolls.
The handmade pieces, along with nearly 2,000 personal hygiene items, were given to representatives of 13 local organizations on Dec. 6 at a distribution event hosted by Rivae Campo and Brian Lovelace, volunteer engagement managers at The Legacy Senior Communities.
Sixteen residents of The Legacy Willow Bend, one at The Legacy Midtown Park and a number of community members created the items. A volunteer team from Bank of America crafted more than 1,500 pompoms, which were sewn onto the hats.
“We’re committed to our seniors and their families, and this is a special opportunity for them to show their own support for our community-at-large in this very hands-on way,” said Laura Levy, executive director at The Legacy Willow Bend.
“The first year, we made 200 scarves and one hat. Now every year it’s that many times over,” said Carol Sobol, a 10-year volunteer at The Legacy. She brought the idea to then-volunteer coordinator Florence Kramer in 2010, and over the years, the agency has gifted more than 33,000 handmade items. Both Sobol and Kramer have been honored by The Legacy leadership for their roles in the program.
In the last months while the pandemic kept everyone apart, Sobol would collect the knitted and crocheted pieces from The Legacy Willow Bend and deliver them to Bank of America representative Tina Green, who distributed them to her team.
“Our knitters, crocheters and now some volunteers working with looms are incredible. We’re so happy to be back together,” said Sobol. “Everyone works so hard and we’re happy for, and proud of, our continued success.”
“When we do acts of good for the well-being of the community, it’s known as a mitzvah. Your hands are a blessing and each stitch radiates light to those receiving what you’ve so lovingly made,” Rabbi Holly Levin Cohn, The Legacy at Home hospice chaplain, said at the event. “Many will benefit and are blessed by your art and they will be thankful for your warmth.”
The 2021 donation recipients are Christ United Methodist Church of Plano; Cochran Chapel; Dallas Police Department Mentoring Program; Dallas Police Department North Central Division for Anne Frank Elementary School; Hope’s Door; Jewish Family Service; Plano Independent School District; Plano Police Department’s Christmas Cops; Minnie’s Food Pantry; National Council of Jewish Women for four West Dallas elementary schools; Suitcase Project of Mosaic Family Services; Streetside Showers; and Temple Emanu-El for its Clothes Closet, Help Refugee Families in Need and the Vickery Meadow Food Pantry programs.
Nonie Schwartz, who with Deidra Cizon and Debbie Greene accepted nearly 800 pieces for NCJW, said: “These hats and scarves and dolls, so colorful and beautiful, are so very thoughtful. The items are provided to 2,000 students in four West Dallas schools, many of whom are survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. They come to our shelters with almost nothing and many of them move to transitional housing,” she said.
Receiving 525 pieces for Plano ISD’s Homeless and Foster Care Program, James Thomas spoke of his affection for his former teacher Fredna Maultsby, of blessed memory and former resident of The Legacy Willow Bend.
“I loved Ms. Fredna and was so honored to have the opportunity over the years to speak to the knitters. The number of homeless in our community continues to rise and these gifts of your hands are so important. They are everything,” Thomas said at the event.”
Laura Kneeland accepted 470 pieces for Minnie’s Food Pantry and shared how the number of people coming for support has more than doubled in the last year. “What hasn’t changed is the heart at the bottom of helping those in need,” she said. “We’re grateful to see your faces and to receive these gifts, which are absolute blessings.”
Jewish Family Service Director of Community Engagement Kristen Jackson said the 514 pieces she received will await clients in JFS’ newly expanded and renovated Food Pantry.
“My mother and grandmother did handwork and I learned from them,” said Alisa Kull, a resident of The Legacy Willow Bend. “I enjoy crocheting and I’m happy that what we do goes to many local causes to keep children and adults warm through the winter.”
To make donations of yarn and materials, or to offer financial support for the project, contact Brian Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org.