Volunteer Retirees Knit Blankets for Charity

These residents support the community and each other with every stitch.


- Posted on Apr 8, 2019

Knitters woven together by common thread: Marjorie Swearingen, Louise Goding, Susan Fintel, Jan Paul, Ruth Pezley, Helen Wigert, Barb Weide and Genevieve Laux.

Content provided by Good Samaritan Society.

What started as a knitting group for women at Good Samaritan Society – Hastings Village has turned into a great source of support, friendship and volunteerism.

The women range in age from 66 to 90 years old, and most of them are widows. Through their knitting, they’ve formed a bond that has helped them during hard times. “If it wasn’t for this group, I don’t know how I would’ve handled it all. It’s my salvation,” says Jan Paul, a Hastings Village resident and knitting group member whose husband died this past year.

In addition to Jan, the group includes seven other women. Helen Wigert loves to knit and crochet and started the group as a way to teach others. The group continues to grow. “We all love getting together,” she says. When asked what they enjoy most about being in the knitting group, the women agree it’s the camaraderie.

We all love one another. We all have a good time visiting. We don’t gossip. We’re a very congenial group.” – Jan Paul, knitting group member

The women are good at encouraging each other and offering a listening ear if one of them is going through a tough time. “My husband fell in August, and it was very comforting to have these gals call me and ask how things were going,” says Sue Fintel. “It was nice to have people remember me and call and check on me. Helen and Jan made visits and others made phone calls. It’s just a blessing.”

“I don’t even know that they realize what they do for each other,” says Susan Spady, volunteer coordinator at Hasting Village. “They naturally support each other.” The time they spend together is meaningful, but also productive. The women knit blankets for area charities and find joy in giving of their time and talent. They say that volunteering is a wonderful thing to do when you’re retired.

“Most of us are working on blankets, and we take them to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children), SASA Crisis Center and the Morrison Cancer Clinic in town,” says Helen. “I set a goal of 1,000 volunteer hours last year and I made it. It’s things like this that keep us going.” Much of the yarn that the group uses is donated. What isn’t donated, the women buy themselves.

We put love in every stitch. And these blankets have 10,000 stitches. We’re so glad to be able to help others who need help.” – Jan Paul

While knitting for worthwhile causes, they’re also helping each other. Many of the women spend a lot of their time alone, and the group offers them something to look forward to. “I think everybody loves it and enjoys it,” says Jan. “We all have some good laughs, and we all need those.” The group is always ready to welcome more women who like to knit. They are also looking for women who crochet. “My mother always said, when you count stitches, you won’t worry about troubles,” says Marjorie.

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