MOLINE, Ill. — As the midwestern January cold takes ahold of the Quad Cities, we're looking for ways to stay warm. Hats and gloves are a staple at homes along with winter coats. But for many reasons, some may not have a hat or gloves.
There's a group of volunteers with the Red Cross of the Quad Cities and West Central Illinois that have met every week since 2011. They knit hats and mittens for members of the military, their families and retired servicemen and women.
Hundreds of hats and mittens are knitted every year, and thousands since the program started. The labor of love is an all year affair. "When we first started we were doing hats and mittens for school children." Said Pat D'Alessandro, 12 year volunteer with the Red Cross. Then the Red Cross learned of another group of people in need of hats and mittens. "Most of these [hats] are for veterans that we take to different stand-downs. That's when a group, a number of groups come together to help the homeless vets, provide them with possible medical care. In the wintertime, they try to get them hats, coats, mittens"
News 8's David Bohlman asked D'Alessandro, "What is something you've taken away from this program?"
"Friendship, I mean, we are a group that really cares about one another. And so it's an opportunity for us to get together every week and and talk about our families, friends, what's going on in our lives, and do something good as well," D'Alessandro said. "I hope they realize they're thought about, that people do care. They may think nobody cares. But people do care."
For the 10 volunteers who show up regularly to warm hands and heads, it's warming their hearts. "Volunteering with the Red Cross isn't just giving blood. It's not just going out in a disaster. There are a lot of things you can do that don't involve leaving home.
The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers and if you are interested in joining the knitting group, they meet on Tuesdays at the Red Cross building in Moline. You don't need to know how to knit because there are patient teachers standing by. If you make a mistake, one volunteer put it this way, "If you can't tell from a galloping horse, it doesn't matter."
You can contact the Red Cross of the Quad Cities and West Central Illinois by calling: 309-743-2166. You can learn more about the knitting group by clicking here.
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