I’ve been with Real Change off and on for 16 years. I am 2016 Real Change Vendor of the Year, have been involved in advocacy and will soon be involved with the Editorial Committee.
I am creative, and I work really well with my hands with arts and crafts and I want to keep pursuing that. A great start is making hats for homeless people.
I begged and pleaded with a close family member to get the knitting pattern for hats to make them for homeless people. This family member was convinced and gave me the pattern to make these hats. I began knitting these hats in January. One day, these hats caught the attention of a pastor, and this pastor asked me to knit 600 hats for homeless people in America.
But there are many more than 600 homeless people in America.
The pastor then encouraged me to knit the hats for homeless people in my community. I thought that was a great idea and began knitting. My heart is calling me to knit these hats. I am knitting them because I care. And I’m doing it out of love.
I was inspired to knit hats for the homeless by a man named Morrie who was also knitting hats for the homeless. Morrie was featured on the news numerous times, and his inspiration and his love put into each hat gave me that inspiration and motivation to do the same.
After I completed a few hats, I received many compliments on them. A lot of people love the style. I’m still getting compliments.
Each hat takes seven hours to make, and they do take up a lot of yarn. I am hoping to get these hats on people’s heads before the fall and winter months approach again. I have no deadline, and I am going at my pace. Constantly counting stitches to make sure it’s accurate and the hats come out neat, because I’m all about precision.
It took me three days to learn to knit, and each and every day that I knit, I feel I’m getting better at it. I found something I enjoy doing. It’s also therapy for me. Knitting helps reduce the pressures of my daily challenges, and it eases the symptoms of my chronic PTSD. I also want to inspire everyone else out there who is creative and suffering similar challenges such as PTSD to get involved with their creative talents. I care about people, and I’m doing this because I do care, and I want to keep peoples’ heads warm.
This is one of many ways I want to give back to my community, because the community reached out and helped me when I was in need. Now it’s my turn to reach out to others by spreading the love one hat at a time.
Tons of yarn donations have come in, and I can always use more. I appreciate and thank those who donated yarn to keep these hats being made. So far I’ve knitted 14 hats and passed out several already.
Mellie Kaufman sells Real Change downtown. In 2016 she was selected as Vendor of the Year.
Read the full May 24 issue.
Real Change vendor acts and advocates at statewide homelessness conference
Homeless adults and youth are connected by common experiences