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Home : Community : Charity Connection : Stories : Knitting as a Volunteer has Healing Benefits

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Caring and Sharing

While so many of us love making things for ourselves and our families, many in the Lion community go further, creating for those in need. Join us in this section and be touched by these true stories of caring and sharing submitted by Lion Brand readers.

Got a story you'd like to share?  Click here to send it to our editors!

Knitting as a Volunteer has Healing Benefits

About a year and a half ago I read a small article in the Boston Globe which caught my attention. I phoned the contact person, Barbara from Saugus and she told me about The Ships Project. This Project was begun in 2001 by Ellen Harpin of Florida. She had a request from a female serving on the ship the Bataan for a warm hat or socks. Ellen got together a few friends to knit or crochet what was to become the massive volunteer Project that it is. The volunteers now knit and crochet hats, socks, slippers that are sent to the troops and afghan squares, which are assembled into afghans for our POC's (point of contacts). The POC's are the people who receive the boxes ot items and handle the disbursement. We also sew cool ties, which help to keep our troops cooler in the extreme heat they are encountering.

There are volunteers from all over the Country. We send our "hugs from home" to ships serving Operation Enduring Freedom and to the ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are opportunities for anyone who cares to get involved in this Project, even if they do not knit, crochet or sew. We often get requests for certain items. For example this month, sun glasses, individual packs of eye drops and anti-bacterial creams. The requests change and we are updated via e-mails from Ellen every month. Since all the postage is paid for by the volunteers monetary donations are always welcomed.

Since Ellen has the military clearance, everyone throughout the Country mails their individual donations to her at the beginning of each month. She then opens each box and resorts and repackages them to go to specific Units. It is an arduous task for Ellen and her family.

This Project makes me feel very good about myself. Honestly I was always opposed to this war; but I do want our troops to be supported and not just with lip service. They are really doing without many things that should be provided by our government and I feel strongly that if I can provide even a moment of happiness and a "hug from home" to one person then I shall have accomplished something. It is such a small thing. Knitting is portable. I take it to all of my appointments and I no longer feel so guilty watching TV for my hands are busy producing a hat! Even though I have Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia it is good to find something that I CAN do that may make a difference in someone's life.

I have used Lion Brand's wool-ease and acrylic yarns for this Project. There is a nice selection and they work up beautifully and they are also affordably priced.

As of this month The Ships Project volunteers have made and sent over 100,000 items to troops serving in the aforementioned areas since 2001. The Ships Project has its own website that participants can check access. We get thank you notes from individual recipients and also photos showing them wearing the items that have been sent. The notes are very telling in how meaningful this small gesture is in the lives of so many.

If anyone is interested in joining The Ships Project I would suggest going to the search engine for Yahoo or Google and entering "The Ships Project" or "ShipSupport" to get further information.

Click here to read another story.
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