The members of the Park Terrace Needlecraft and Chat group are hard at work preparing knitted, loomed and crocheted items for those in need. Throughout the year the group meets at the senior living community to make and donate dozens of items monthly to Knots of Love, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing handmade caps for those experiencing the effects of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Once donated, these items are distributed to various hospitals and organizations across the country. To date, the Needlecraft and Chat group donated more than 2,000 items, including knitted or crocheted caps, lap robes and incubator blankets. While group members work on their items independently, they come together once a week every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to spend time with one another socializing, knitting or crocheting. For group member and Park Terrace resident Audrey Windsor, this meaningful activity provides a sense of purpose and achievement.
“When I first joined the group, I had given up knitting for some time,” said Windsor. “When I realized what we had the opportunity to do for Knots of Love – such a worthy organization – I knew that I needed to start up again. It is very special to be involved in something that not only makes a difference for others, but provides a sense of accomplishment and peace in my own life. I’ve been a volunteer in some capacity my entire life and this seemed like a natural fit. We’re all very devoted to the project and the group, and it’s made a difference in all of our lives.”
The group was founded by Park Terrace resident Jean Johnson in July of 2012 when she realized there wasn’t a group like it at the community. What started as a weekly gathering for those who loved knitting has now become a place for learning and making a difference. After reading about Knots of Love, Johnson realized the group could put its skills to good use. The first donation of 60 items went to the organization in 2013 and they have never looked back. The group has since seen their family members join the mission, contributing their own creations to the donations. When the items are completed, group member Claire French delivers them to a local yarn store which collects the donations for Knots of Love.
“It’s incredible to see the impact this group has on everyone involved,” said French. “We have women who come to socialize leave feeling a sense of pride in what they have accomplished for themselves and others. Our group wouldn’t be successful without the support of everyone around us, and we’re thankful for everyone who has helped in some capacity along the way.”
“I’m especially proud of what we continue to achieve with this group,” said Johnson. “Not only have we made an impact on the lives of those in need, but on our members as well. We’ve helped each other start knitting again – and in some cases even learn – and it’s sweet to see the friendships that have developed over the years. All of us have varying degrees of health issues that hinder us in some way, and it’s very gratifying to see others complete a piece they didn’t think was possible. In a lot of ways this group has kept us going; from the knowledge that we are leaving a mark in the world, to the friendships that have developed. It’s a special group of women, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
“We’re extremely proud of our residents and humbled by their generosity. Reaching this milestone of 2,000 donated items is tremendous, and they deserve recognition for their selfless commitment to helping others,” said Jerry Church, executive director of Park Terrace. “Our community is honored to stand alongside the Needlecraft and Chat group as they work to make a difference in the lives of others. With the approaching holiday season we are all reminded of the importance of coming together and giving back. We hope these incredible women inspire others in the local community to find ways they can benefit someone else.”