Scarves for our Veterans in the Bronx– and more! Updates on 10/2/15 and 10/7/15

UPDATE 10/7 (Happy birthday to me!) The community Facebook group has grown to 40 people (!!!) interested in participating or donating- way more than I ever imagined when I hatched this idea. I’m so excited to expand our donations to not just vets at the Bronx VA, but also to a local homeless shelter and to needy families right here in our town of Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown. Along with Terri, I am putting together a tracking sheet because there are so many people and ideas to organize. Hoping to get this off the ground very soon. I’ve had people willing to donate yarn, tools, and their knitting/teaching skills to those who are newbies and want to learn and contribute.

If you’re one of my family members or friends from out of town, you are more than welcome to join the group or to contribute to this project in any way you can. If you like to donate one scarf or 10, or just a ball of yarn or some old knitting needles, I will make sure all of it goes to good use. E-mail me at jwilsnack@gmail.com

Also, my friend Heather, who owns an incredible shop called Trilogy that sells modern, vintage and artisan clothing and accessories has agreed to offer her shop as a drop off point for people who want to donate supplies or finished products. She is open¬†e Tue-Sat: 11:00 am-6:00 pm, Sun: 12:00 pm-5:00 pm (closed on Monday). Since I work during the day and get home around 6:30, this is a great location for a drop-off that’s open during the day, 6 days a week. If you want to bring anything, just stop by her shop at 107 North Broadway in Tarrytown, across from C-Town Supermarket, and let her know I sent you. Anyone else can contact me to arrange a drop off.

What started as me wanted to utilize my yarn stash has turned into what looks like it will be a community effort to help those in need! I’m really looking forward to meeting others in my community and helping others in some small way.

My mom and grandma helped me learn not only my craft and crochet skills, but the importance of helping those in need, even if we aren’t particularly wealthy ourselves. I don’t make a ton of money, especially considering my student loan bills after completing my Masters, but this is a small way I can help others using what I do have- time and yarn!

This whole thing is making me feel both literally and figuratively warm and fuzzy. ūüôā


UPDATE¬†10/2/15: Since I posted this yesterday on my local community Facebook page, I’ve had lots of people show interest in donating yarn, making not just scarves but also hats and mittens, and even meeting up to teach others/learn how to crochet or knit! What a great community I live in. I was also contacted by a friend from my hometown who is sending me a donation from her yarn stash (Thanks, Kaira!) in addition to other community members who will donate supplies.

If you are local in Westchester County (Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, or surrounding areas), I created a Facebook group along with a woman named Terri who so generously offered to host meetups in her home! Click here¬†for that Facebook group.¬†We can use this to coordinate meetups, distributing the donated yarn, and distributing the finished products. Terri¬†also suggested we open it up to donating to the homeless, which is of course a great idea. I’m so happy I live in an area with fellow crafters willing to use their time, energy and supplies to help those in need.


ORIGINAL POST (10/1/15): Hi friends and family,

This weekend I was attempting to organize my embarrassingly large craft supply and yarn stash.

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I remembered reading about groups and individuals who were randomly making and leaving scarves tied around trees, poles, and benches in cities with a note that they are free to anyone who needs one.

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I’ve decided that because my commute is about an hour each way from my cozy home in Westchester to my job at the James J Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Bronx, NYC, and because my yarn stash is out of control, I’d use my commute time and resources to make scarves to give away at the hospital.

As many of you know, I work in suicide research with veterans. This hospital has some great cutting-edge research, including my colleagues investigating neuro-epigenetics and amazing robotic exoskeletons that allow parlayed people to walk again.

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Many of the vets seen at this hospital are of course, from the Bronx, and the population tends to be low-income, low-resource men and women who have served our country recently or many years ago. Many of them are struggling with the physical and mental repercussions of being in the military, and living with the day to day challenges of living in NYC and growing older. Regardless of their socioeconomic status however, I just think it would be a nice thing to do to make some homemade scarves and distribute them at the hospital for anyone who needs one. It’s quite a large and bustling medical center.We see a lot of elderly veterans, women vets, and vets bringing their families, including children with them to the hospital for appointments.

So I’ve decided to make scarves and place them in the lobby with a sign that they’re free, made with love, to anyone who needs/wants one. If anyone has any extra yarn they’d like to donate to me, please email me at jaime.wilsnack@va.gov¬†and let me know! And if you’d like to make some scarves (and hats, mittens, etc- I’m not so good at those) you’re more than welcome to contribute. I plan on making a batch and putting out the first basket when the weather turns cold…which will be pretty soon!

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Here’s some crochet patterns. Knitters are welcome of course, but I’m Team Crochet because I can’t seem to handle two needles.

At this point, this is just an idea I’ve hatched and plan on executing myself, but I plan on talking with other programs at the hospital to see if others want to get involved. I’ll update on my progress.

xo Jaime