New Kent County – A local group is putting their hands to work making items for Ukrainian refugees overseas and is inviting the community to help.
“Anything we can do to give back we do,” said Bethann Ford, leader of the Heritage Public Library From the Heart Knitting Group.
Vessels of Mercy International recently sent out a request to all active chapters of From the Heart and asked that they send hats and small warm items to refugees flooding out of Ukraine.
There are about 15 active members in From the Heart chapters in New Kent and Charles City counties, Ford said. The New Kent branch alone has made over 70 hats to send to Ukrainian refugees in both Poland and Ukraine.
The From the Heart organization, which was first started in Richmond, has sent over 1,000 items from the Richmond and Fredericksburg areas as of earlier this month.
“From the Heart is a group of likeminded people who knit, crochet and sew and who go about meeting the needs of the people,” Ford said.
Home crafters in the community are also being encouraged to create and donate items.
“Some people may do only one thing and that’s okay,” Ford said. “Every piece matters. If that person enjoys making it and the person enjoys getting it, then that’s all that matters. ”
The most urgent need is for neutral hats for babies and children, especially boys, and for men.
The hats can be any fabric, including wool blends, but can not be non-washable / non-dryable 100% wool.
There is also a need for Izzy “comfort dolls,” small squishable toys and twiddle cuffs for children. Patterns are available on the From the Heart website at fromtheheartstitchers.org.
Items can be donated to both Heritage Public Library branches until April 19. Ford will be delivering the donations to Richmond the following day.
“My goal is to fill up my car,” she said. “Wouldn’t that be a great thing?”
Since its inception three years ago, the Heritage Public Library knitting group has made thousands of items for cancer and dialysis patients, the homeless and premature babies, as well as artificial nests for wildlife and face masks.
“We made 600-700 face masks that were handed out at Charles City High School during COVID and we partnered with the Rotary Club to make and send 275 masks to a school in Africa,” Ford said.
The group is able to provide these services through $ 4,000 in grants from the New Kent Rotary Club and the Rotary District 7600.
The money has been used in the past to purchase sustainable equipment including yarn, sewing machines, shears, two storage cabinets, rotary cutters, pins and needles, and books.
The Heritage Public Library From the Heart knitting group New Kent branch meets on the second Tuesday and the Charles City branch meets in the third Monday of every month at 2 pm The meetings are available by Zoom through the library website heritagepubliclibrary.org.
The New Kent Heritage branch is located at 7791 Invicta Lane, New Kent, and the Charles City branch is located at 10900 Courthouse Road, Charles City.