“Barbara, I have another project for you.”
Iva, Barbara King’s longtime friend and neighbor, was calling from Northern New Jersey with news and an idea. Iva had just started working with a number of ladies who were knitting hats to donate to cancer patients at a local hospital. She and Barbara met through church and had always enjoyed knitting and crafting together. Iva thought it would be a perfect project for Barbara to organize a similar hat-knitting group at her new home at Willow Valley Communities.
Barbara was intrigued. She set about getting a program started at Willow Valley, arranging to teach knitting classes at the Willow Valley Communities Cultural Center and using Iva’s idea of knitting hats as the class project. It would be a simple project for their new knitters, and she could give the participants the choice of keeping the hat or donating it.
She then set out to find a beneficiary of the donations.
Barbara was introduced to Jay Bucher, then President of Lancaster General Health Foundation, who connected the group to patients in Lancaster General Hospital’s pediatric unit, as well as participants in the Healthy Beginnings Plus Program, which supports pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and beyond. Jay, a creative and dedicated advocate for the community recently passed away.
“We make excellent use of the hats,” Jay told Barbara and her group. “They are wonderful.” Over the last two years, Barbara’s group has donated approximately 250 multi-colored hats, each one of them unique.
The gifts of the knitting project extend to the knitters themselves. A number of Barbara’s new neighbors have been introduced to knitting for the first time. Others, who used to knit in the past, have reconnected with the relaxation and enjoyment of the craft. And, most of all, the knitters have the joy of knowing that the hats are making a difference for a family in need. Jay was very thankful for all the donations of the soft knitted hats and the hours of work from Barbara and her group of dedicated knitters. “Support like this from the community is so very important,” he said, “and greatly appreciated.”
Barbara puts it simply: “It’s just nice to do something purely for other people.”