A Great Yarn owner Mary Weishaar (from left) with three of the participants in this year's Knit-A-Thon, Jean Williams, Judy Maynard, and Susan Bartels.
A hand-knit blanket represents warmth, comfort, and love, something hundreds of HAC clients have received since 2016 thanks to the generosity of Ron and Mary Weishaar and their customers.
That was the first year that the couple, who own A Great Yarn in Chatham, and the store’s customers came together to knit 29 blankets for those in HAC’s shelters. In addition to the blankets, $1,500 was raised to support the agency’s housing programs.
Last year, those numbers jumped to 155 hand-made blankets and $6,000 in donations. This year, 192 blankets were made and nearly $5,000 was raised as part of what has become an annual tradition that takes place every February, March, and April.
The knit-a-thon concluded last month with a “yarn bomb” in which all interior and exterior surfaces of A Great Yarn were covered in the finished blankets before being delivered to HAC to go to clients in the agency’s family shelters.
Interest in the annual drive has grown to the point that nearly 300 people representing seven states throughout the country now participate in it. “We probably have 50 to 60 new people who this is their first year involved in it,” Ron said.
Each person knits individual panels – essentially the size of a long scarf – that volunteers sew together to make blankets for HAC clients who need them the most.
“We have a number of people who come in and tell us how much this has meant to them,” Ron said. “It is just remarkable… They feel, ‘I’ve got this talent and here’s a way of, instead of making another sweater for my granddaughter, I can help somebody who doesn’t have a home.’”