Valley News – Out & About: Give warmth
Posted: 11/07/2021 12:16:10 PM
Modified: 11/07/2021 12:16:12 PM
Crochet artists, knitters and other fiber artists are once again called upon to provide handmade winter items to the Share the Warmth program of the Ottauquechee Health Foundation.
The program was launched last year as a way to “create additional community engagement at a time when we thought it was lacking”, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tayo Kirchhof, executive director of the Woodstock-based non-profit organization. Another motivation was to donate hats, scarves, mittens and socks to community members who needed them.
“Last year with the pandemic, we have very few opportunities to show our presence around things happening in the city,” said Stephen D’Agostino, who is the secretary of the organization’s board of directors. non-profit, chairman of the communications committee and organizer of Share la Chaleur. “We decided to do something that would bring people together in a community event, but it didn’t necessarily have to be done together, sitting in each other’s presence.”
Over 40 people made 490 items, ranging from infant to adult sizes. They started collecting items in October and distributed them until April.
“It was amazing how many items we received last year,” said D’Agostino, who knitted three hats and a scarf last year. Of the three collection days they organized, the last one had the biggest loot; the people who donated the first time ended up making more items.
In addition to keeping items at the health center, they were distributed to the nonprofit’s nine coverage areas in Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Quechee, Reading and Woodstock. This included pantries and VeggieVanGo gifts.
“We actually ended up distributing outside of those nine cities,” Kirchhof said. This included the Good Neighbor Health Clinic and Planned Parenthood in White River Junction. A collection also went to the Claremont soup kitchen. “We said to each other why not share the heat? This is really the aim of the initiative.
Staff and volunteers were amazed at the response. There were very few items left.
“We didn’t expect so much support and such a wave of support for the initiative that we felt it was important to really go beyond our border,” Kirchhof said.
This year, items will be collected until December 30. Craftsmen can drop them off from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday November 20, Saturday December 11 and Thursday December 30 at the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. at 30 Pleasant St. If people cannot make it to these times, they can contact the foundation at 802-457-4188 or [email protected] to arrange an alternate schedule. Items can also be mailed to Ottauquechee Health Foundation, PO Box 784, Woodstock, Vermont, 05091.
“Once January 1 is reached, we move on strictly to distribution,” Kirchhof said.
On the last Saturday in October, six people gathered for a launch event at the Norman Williams Public Library and they’ve already received 40 donated items from someone who has knitted them all year.
“I was so happy to find other people who weren’t involved last year getting involved this year,” D’Agostino said. “It was nice to see people coming back and new people coming in and really getting involved in this effort.”
Liz Sauchelli can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3221.