Elves have been hard at work at West Hartford’s senior centers.
Elves do exist. Their story has been manipulated and packaged into their only working a few months a year, in a frozen tundra, for a man who delivers toys once a year. That myth does not do an Elf justice.
Real Elves deliver more than toys. In fact, they toil all year long. Every Monday afternoon and Friday morning, at West Hartford Senior Center’s two locations, you will find Elves hand knitting and crocheting blankets, hats, and scarves that will be delivered to cancer patients, newborn babies, children in Africa, and more.
With every hand-crafted gift, the message is clear: You matter and you deserve to be wrapped in the warmth and care of others.
The 16 Bishops Corner Senior Center Elves are referred to by locals as “The Knitters,” and they’ve been meeting in their workshop for more than 20 years. Sandra Brook has been orchestrating their gift creations and distributions for nearly 20 years. She took over in 2015 and believes “The Knitters” have been in place since the early 2000s.
“We decided we wanted to give something of ourselves. No current member remembers when it started!” This year the knitters’ delivered 424 gifts, and the total is 3,819 since 2015.
In 2023 Newington Veteran’s Hospital decided to host their first annual baby shower for veterans in the state. The Bishops Corner Senior Center Knitters immediately stepped in to help. Realizing the need was great, Director Rebecca Sears reached out to Granby Congregation Church to recruit more Elves.
“Granby Congregational Church has had a knitting ministry for years. They graciously accepted the assignment and delivered what was needed to meet the goal. It is just another example of the generosity and care of others. It is so easy to get caught up in today’s coverage of tragic events. Daily acts of kindness are the small but powerful threads that bind us and keep us,” said Sears.
In addition to Newington Veteran’s Hospital, Bishops Corner Senior Center Knitters have donated lap blankets to Regional Cancer Care Associated in Bishops Corner, Gifts of Love in Avon, Saint Francis Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, West Hartford Social Workers, The Bridge, and The American Legion.
In March of 2022, Elmwood Senior Center began their own knitting group. Beverly Peterson took the lead after she and five friends from Elmwood’s Walking Group decided they wanted to start a knitting group at the Elmwood location.
“We decided we wanted it to be on the same day as our walking group,” Beverly said. “We are now up to 20 members. We have made many baby blankets, especially for the Newington VA Women’s baby showers. Our master crocheter, Fran Boss, has contributed at least 12 gorgeous, unique blankets herself. We are working on hats for the Center Church in Hartford’s homeless outreach. We have donated to West Hartford Social Services and have contributed three knitted teddy bears to the Mother Bear Project, an outreach to children in Africa who have lost a parent to AIDS. We have also knitted or crocheted 21 tea cozies for the ‘Tea at 3’ program of For All Ages, which pairs senior citizens with college students for a weekly phone conversation, aiming to reduce loneliness and help communication between generations. The Elmwood group has just been a great opportunity for socializing as well as creating useful and beautiful objects.”
These generous and dutiful givers remind us that one small stich, one tiny act, when built upon another, can create a tremendous impact.
The Bishops Corner Senior Center Knitting and Crocheting Elves meet every Friday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The Elmwood Senior Center Knitting and Crocheting Elves meet every Monday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Instructions are not provided but all ability levels are welcome to join. Beginners are encouraged!
For more information, please email [email protected]. If you would like to join, please drop in at either location.
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