First Posted: 3/4/2014
Every Monday at 1 p.m. members of the Caring Hands group meet up at the Abington Community Library to engage in a little conversation, while helping those in need.
For two hours, members knit and crochet everyday necessities with the hope of brightening someone’s day.
The small gesture earned Caring Hands a “Good Works in Lackawanna County” certificate in February due to the tremendous amount of hard work and dedication they’ve put into giving back.
The organization was honored by the County Commissioners. . The library itself was also acknowledged for providing a space to the organization.
Letters and thank-you cards written by those affected by the donations are sent to Caring Hands often.
“Some people get really creative with the things they knit and it makes some little kid’s day when he or she gets a hat that has a tail or something,” said member Sharleen Martin of Clarks Summit.
One of the places that receive the knitted items is the St. Joseph’s Center..
“St. Joe’s is always very appreciative for baby hats and clothes,” Martin said.
One of the thank-you cards, written by a representative of an Ugly Quilt project, shared with the group how useful their donations were, expressed how they planned to use the knitted items at various events or as part of their own donations, and how everything received would benefit people.
Caring Hands is a non-profit community organization run through the Voluntary Action Center. The Abington branch, created approximately one-and-a-half years ago, is an extension of the original group in Scranton. The number of volunteers at each location ranges from three to eight people per week, but the group is always welcomes new members.
“We are hoping to expand to different areas of Lackawanna County, as well, because downtown Scranton may not always be convenient for everyone,” said Betty White, an 11-year member of Caring Hands and a Clarks Summit resident.
White is currently a member at both locations, but due to her work schedule, the only day she has available until the summer is Monday, which makes the Abington extension convenient.
“I really showed interest to this one,” she said. “I do a lot of volunteer work for them. I love coming here and the women in Scranton are different, too, so there is definitely a bond that is formed.”
The group not only creates a bond between the members and those they’re helping, but also provides a strong link between members.
“We also learn from each other,” said Shakun Shah, of Clarks Summit. “No matter how much experience you have when you come here, you can still end up picking something up.”
“A lot of people feel that they are incapable of helping, because they feel they don’t have the skills to make a difference, but time is also a precious gift to give and that is what we do,” White said.
Caring Hands uses both donated materials, as well as, their own yarn for their projects.
“A lot of time somebody will just be cleaning out Grandma’s attic and come across a box of yarn and knitting tools and donate that,” Martin said. “Sometimes there are already works with intricate designs that we can’t duplicate, so we can’t necessarily use it, but then what we do is actually make a blanket out of those odds and ends and bring them to the Griffin Pond Shelter to line the cages for the animals.”
The women involved in Caring Hands strive to give back to the community, and being a part of the organization is beneficial to them, as well.
“I like that I can do something. I can’t do it all evening, but I enjoy being able to give them away, rather than to my kids who have enough already,” Martin said. “I feel that coming here I can knit for the two hours straight, while at home I end up getting sidetracked by the television or something.”
“It’s an art that is truly dying,” said White, “but everything really is made with love and consideration.”