|Members of the knitting group include Rose McGillycuddy (from left), Betty Dewar, crochet instructor Wanda Blair of Michaels, Bridget Fallon, Darlene Simmons, the operations manager at Michaels, Eileen McDonald, a case manager from Carriage House, Susan Cunningham and Paulette Loomis.
At what point in life do you stop helping others?
If you ask a group of women at the Cape Cod Senior Residences in Bourne their answers will all be the same – you don’t.
Take 88-year-old Paulette Loomis. She is legally blind. “I only have a little vision in my right eye,” she said.
Still that has not stopped Loomis from participating in an activity that has provided complete strangers with a little warmth. She is one of roughly a half dozen women living at the Bourne senior facility who have devoted their time turning strings of yarn into colorful blankets for women and their children staying at the Carriage House Shelter.
“It feels like I’m doing something to ease their pain,” Loomis said. “You feel like you’re doing something for somebody in a small way.”
Individually, the women knit or crochet seven-by-nine-inch squares in their apartments and come together once a month at Michaels in Falmouth, where they take those squares and turn them into blankets under the guidance of instructor Wanda Blair.
Blair oversees the store’s annual Warm Up America! event in which volunteers throughout the country make hand-knit blankets for those in need.
Darlene Simmons, the operations manager at the Michaels branch in Falmouth occasionally knits with the group. Last year, she said, they made their first blanket donation to Carriage House. They enjoyed that experience so much they continued to meet monthly to knit and crochet together.
Their joy was derived from the actual knitting, the socialization and the knowledge that someone would benefit from their work. “They feel like they are helping people,” Simmons said. “They feel fortunate and are reaching out to people who are not as fortunate.”
|Despite being legally blind, Paulette Loomis (right) still finds time to knit blankets for Carriage House clients.
As she knit inside Michaels in October, Rose McGillycuddy, one month shy of 95, spoke about what the hobby has meant to her. “I’ve been knitting since I was 16,” she said. “It is restful. I like it when I can make something for people who really appreciate it. I think that is very rewarding.”
That same day Rose, Paulette, Betty Dewar, Bridget Fallon and Susan Cunningham, all from the Cape Cod Senior Residences, presented Carriage House case manager Eileen McDonald with two large blankets and seven lap robes. That is on top of two large blankets and four lap robes they donated to Carriage House about two months earlier.
“These blankets are more than just for warmth,” Carriage House facility director Katie Geissler said when asked what they mean to the shelter’s clients. “When wrapped around they are a hug given by someone who wants to show they care. It is important that our women know that they are supported because love and compassion are two ingredients needed for healing.”