If you could take a favorite hobby and turn it into a charitable organization, would you?
The answer is a resounding “yes” for June Thornton and 34 other Lehigh Valley women who form the altruistic knitting group called Sew Others May Be Warm.
The deft-fingered ladies meet once a week to knit and crochet a variety of accoutrements that are then donated to any number of area non-profits and hospitals.
In fact, just last week, the group donated 28 lap blankets to Meals-On-Wheels, which were in turn distributed to the elderly and those with limited mobility.
Sew Others May Be Warm is organized and run by June Thornton, a College Hill resident who started the group nearly three years ago. The women meet every Thursday afternoon in the rear of the Palmer Memorial Library.
“They’re all lovely ladies,” said Thornton of the women in the group. “They need this time… it’s a family now.”
The organization’s benevolence is two-fold: they make the apparel that is donated to worthy causes, and the ladies get a strong sense of accomplishment and unity.
There’s no age limit to be a member of the group: its oldest member, Dorothy Eisel, is 90, and the youngest, Thornton’s granddaughter, is 15--and started at age 13.
“The first time we did [Sew Others May Be Warm] we were expecting maybe five women,” said Stephanie Supinski, manager of the Palmer Library. “Twenty-five women showed up!”
Although it’s not a knitting or crocheting class, the ladies are very welcoming of newcomers or amateurs.
“We get people that need to be refreshed, or want to help,” said Thornton. “We have thirty-something ladies to take you under their wing.”
Some of the group’s recent donations have included baby and preemie hats for Easton Hospital, adult wool hats for Safe Harbor, and blue scarves for children of abuse. The ladies have also knitted bereavement blankets to be donated to area hospitals, made for the mothers of babies who are taken off life support.
Completing a project as large as a blanket requires a group mentality; each lady knits a square before they are put together, not unlike making a quilt. The ladies of Sew Others May Be Warm often take projects home to finish or work on them.
“These ladies put out so much,” said Thornton. “They’re tireless.”
Last February, the group donated 255 red scarves to Lehigh Valley Hospital for Women’s Heart Awareness Month. The scarves were given out to women who had heart issues.
The group is always accepting donations, which can be monetary or in the group’s preferred currency, yarn, and are accepted anytime at the Palmer Library.
“We’re always in need of yarn,” said Thornton. “Every little scrap is used… we don’t throw anything away.”
Members come from all over the Lehigh Valley, including Forks, Palmer, Easton, Bangor and beyond. As Thornton pointed out, men are always welcome, although currently there are no male members of the group.
Sew Others May Be Warm meets at the Palmer Memorial Library every Thursday that the library is open, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.