SMITTEN with MITTENS!
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
I would like to take you back to the morning of November 29, 2017. In just four short weeks, a charitable group of women with busy hands helped us reach our goal of knitting and crocheting 100 pairs of hand made mittens that were to be handed out alongside the Salvation Army’s Christmas toy hamper program at our church. That morning I stood behind a table displaying, not 100, but actually 158 pairs of colourful handmade mittens, ready to embark on our mission of “Warming the Hands of Calgary!” It was a special morning as it marked the groundbreaking beginning of the CommuKNITy Cares ministry!
Over the next 12 hours we expected to receive hundreds of families coming in to collect their children’s Christmas presents. Within the first hour we had given away all of our mittens! What could have been a discouraging moment ended up igniting my desire to start preparing for 2018! I was determined to come back stronger so CommuKNITy Cares would be in a position to provide one pair of mittens for each child of every family that came through our church doors.
It wasn’t just the overwhelming need for mittens that got me excited. I also experienced some special moments that morning that became a strong source of my inspiration. I was already blessed having the opportunity to knit the mittens for these children, but I also found pure joy while interacting with the families!
Even though I wished I could have captured this next story in a photograph, I will forever have the memory etched in my heart. Picture this… a young mom and her three year old son approached our table that morning. As I had done with each family I welcomed them both with a smile, told her a little about the ministry and encouraged her son to choose a pair of mittens for himself. His shyness quickly disappeared as his eyes lit up with anticipation. He walked along the table surveying each pair, even those that were way beyond his size. It was obvious that he was overwhelmed so I asked what his favourite colour was. He beamed and promptly blurted out, “Red!” Our selection was getting slim at that point, but we still had one pair of bright red wooly mittens left and they just happened to be in his size. I held them out to him and he jumped up and down with utter excitement. His mom untied the bow wrapped around them and he slid his tiny hands into them, one at a time. This is the moment I wish I could have captured in a picture. He danced around waving his hands high in the air! He was sincerely happy and SMITTEN with his MITTENS! I don’t think I will ever forget his expression. He then wandered over to collect his Christmas presents but made a special point of coming back and thanking me once again while at the same time waving his red wooly hands in the air!
That moment alone sealed the deal in my mind that this ministry was meaningful and had a very special purpose, but God provided me with a few more experiences that morning. Many of the families that came to visit us were new to Canada and spoke very limited English. As with the little boy and his mom, I would try to start a conversation with each of the parents as they came to the table. On more than one occasion as I gave them their mittens, they would respond back with an “Ooooh!” A few went on to question, “Handknit?” I answered yes and tried to explain that women, here at our church wanted to help provide warmth to their families this winter. These women cherished these mittens as they drew them close to their chests and exclaimed once again, “Handknit!” Actions can sometimes speak so much clearer than words. They too were SMITTEN with their MITTENS!
As I have shared with you before, I try to model my life after the best example I have to follow, and that is Jesus Christ. He spent his life and ministry here on earth dedicating it to serving and helping others. He held a special place in his heart for people in need. He guides us to not overlook the poor and to have sensitivity towards their plight. CommuKNITy Cares is responding to His example. This year our goal is to make 2000 pair of mittens. I am so excited to announce that CommuKNITy Cares has already surpassed our total mitten count for 2017. It’s only the first week of March and we have already received 160 pairs! I too am SMITTEN with all the MITTENS!
I would love to invite you to feel the joy that I and others have experienced by being a part of this ministry. We had a small but mighty group contributing to the ministry last year. They all have very generous hearts and I know would give everything they have to help us reach our much larger goal this year, but let’s try to save their fingertips and help them out a bit. Please consider joining our cause. We welcome donations of hand knit or crocheted mittens in any variety of sizes and colours, as long as they are appropriate for children between the ages of new born to their late teens.
I will be offering free “Learn to Mitt” sessions at The Salvation Army Glenmore Temple Community Church. These are drop in sessions open to anyone interested in helping our cause. If you have never knit mittens before, I will be available to teach you how to make your first pair. Visit our Classes and Groups page for a list of available sessions and supplies.
Already many have contributed mittens while, others are learning to knit their first pair. I wanted to share a few pictures of some of our new young knitters that have recently contributed to CommuKNITy Cares.