Mrs. Santa can always use a helping hand and once again this year she has received one from the Saint Jeanne Jugan Knitting Group at St. Joseph’s Residence in Enfield. This group of six Residents and four volunteers spend two hours on Thursday afternoons knitting, chatting and having fun while producing mittens, hats, scarves and infant toys for Christmas. On Thursday, December 1 they presented their chosen local agencies the work of their hands for another year. The North Central Connecticut Network Against Domestic Abuse received over 200 handmade mittens, hats and scarves, the Enfield Police Toy Drive were given knitted soft balls and teddy bears for infants and The NIC Unit at Hartford Hospital received their second donation this year of caps for preemies and newborns. Total baby caps – 250. Prayer shawls and lap robes are also part of the mix and they will go to local cancer patients.
The ancient art of knitting has always invoked conversation and good works and this was the intention when the group was formed in 2004. We started with 11 knitters and two volunteers who had no idea what they would do besides knit a simple prayer shawl and chat. Over the years the faces have changed but the good works keep flowing – and increasing. From prayer shawls they moved onto making knit hats for chemo patients and mittens using patterns that were popular when their children were small. Friends and family contributed a hat or a pair of mittens and other Residents often would ask for yarn and needles so they could knit in their rooms while watching television. Items are made from yarn that is at hand. When the group was asked if they could make newborn caps a bag of baby yarn appeared to provide the proper material. This year the donation will include some special red and white Santa hats, made by one of the volunteers as a “thank you” donation to Saint Frances Hospital. Her grandson, now 12, hangs his newborn Santa cap on his tree each year and will join in the trip to Hartford to make sure that this year’s “Santa Babies” will have the same gift.
Once the New Year arrives, the needles and conversation will begin again and we will all look forward to the “Christmas Yet To Come” but in 2013 we will see a change, which is always a good thing and, for the first time, we will have a gentleman joining in the fun. There is sure to be some lively conversations next year.