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We met all our delivery deadlines and then some |

We met all our delivery deadlines and then some

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Chef Pam Johnson and a crew of volunteers prepare beef stew and roasted vegetables for guests of Eliljah’s Promise Community Kitchen, on a cold day in November, 2017.
Pamela MacKenzie/Staff Video

It has been a great week for delivering your hats and other winter accessories. And you folks have been amazing about sending me hats to deliver. I’ve received hats from as far away as Minnesota. A prize-winning crocheter there, Terry Walley, heard about us late last winter from her cousin in Dunellen. She said it was too late to send us anything last winter, but she started off this winter by sending us 10 hat-and-scarf sets, each one more beautiful than the next. I was going to take a photo, but all the sets already are delivered.

A shout-out of thanks goes also to Mary Ann Baliewich, who delivered a host of beautiful things to Mercy House in Perth Amboy; Pat Kowalczyk, who delivered a host of things to the Old Bridge Food Bank; and everyone else who has sent me things.

One person sent me a big carton with hats, gloves or mittens and scarves, all beautifully matched sets. There was no name with this box, but you know who you are. Yesterday, there was a big bag of hats, scarves and other things waiting for me when I got back to the office. This unselfish giving means so much.

READ: As all your hats come in, I am overwhelmed

READ: Donations of all kinds

READ: We’re knitting for at least 8 destinations this winter

Where have I delivered your hats and scarves since my last column? Last Friday, I went to Elijah’s Promise Community Kitchen on Neilson Street in New Brunswick with the 50 hats (OK, I snuck in a few extras) they requested for November. Friday night promised to be bitterly cold, so I brought the hats there for the guests, rather than wait until their Race Against Hunger in Johnson Park the next day. Chef Pam Johnson at the kitchen said the hats would be very welcome that night.

I would have made other deliveries that day, but the Old Bridge Food Bank and the Stony Brook School in North Plainfield were closed. First thing Monday morning, though, I brought about 30 children’s hats and a lot of scarves to Stony Brook School for their annual mitten tree. I was delighted to see that staff member Jennie Dzurilla was setting up the tree for the first time.

“It’s so cold out,” she said.  

She let me put a few hats and scarves on the tree that were added to many hats, gloves and scarves that were contributed by others. The rest of our things will be added as soon as students claim what is on the tree. As the cold continues, more and more children will be warm because of you. 

“I can’t wait to see the kids as they come out for lunch and see all the hats and gloves they can take. They get so excited,” Dzurilla said.

The next day, I went to Old Bridge Food Bank, which is open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Thursday. I had about 130 hats, along with a lot of scarves. The staff said that our gifts would be given to their clients Saturday during their annual Thanksgiving party.

“They will love them,” said one of the staffers. “They were so happy to have them last year. Thank you so much for bringing them again this year.”

On my way home, I stopped in Woodbridge and picked up hats and scarves from Barbara Antoniello, and when I arrived back at the office, I found that someone had delivered a big bag of hats and scarves. I am hoping to take this bounty to Mercy House in Perth Amboy in the next several days. I’ve also taken a big delivery of baby hats to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency office.

My goal is to deliver these things as quickly as possible now that it’s cold, so that people who need them will have them right away.

By the way, a few of you have followed through on my suggestion to use big needles and bulky yarn, specifically Lion Brand Homespun, to make some quick scarves. I’ve been using a size 13 or 15 needle, and Barbara Antoniello is using a size 17. Homespun is a bit difficult to crochet, but it works well on the large knitting needles, and it makes a nice warm scarf.

“I love them, they go so fast!” Antoniello said.

Baby blankets and doll clothes

I’ve talked to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in Piscataway, and they would love to have baby blankets, too. I have three in my possession from one of you, and I am trying to make time to deliver them, but I have been hoping that I’d get a few more before I go there.

If you have any blankets, send them or bring them in. I will be out of the office Thanksgiving week, but I will be nearby, and if any blankets come in, I will make a trip with them to Piscataway.

Also, I’ll be collecting more hats and other accessories for December deliveries to Elijah’s Promise, the Somerset County Community Development Office, DCPP and the Franklin Food Bank, so if you want to keep making them, please do.

I haven’t received any more doll clothes in the last week for foster girls, but if any of you are working on them, I thank you. We still have time before CASA SHaW picks them up. And thanks to all of you for your generous spirit. 

Staff Writer Pam MacKenzie: 908-243-6616; pmackenz@gannettnj.com. For more news about knitting, including patterns, book reviews and Pam’s own knitting projects, read her In Stitches blog regularly at www.mycentraljersey.com/institches. She’ll be reviewing a book about crochet very soon; watch for it.

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