2018-01-11 / Living

Yarns of Love: a gift to children and seniors alike

BY TANYA TERRY
810-452-2645 * tterry@mihomepaper.com


Participants in Yarns of Love from the Burton Senior Activity Center were featured on a billboard. 
Photos provided Participants in Yarns of Love from the Burton Senior Activity Center were featured on a billboard. Photos provided BURTON — Thanks to a program benefitting the United Way of Genesee County, Burton area seniors are able to make scarfs, hats, gloves and mittens for local children. Yarns of Love was birthed out of love and helps the young and old alike.

“The United Way came to us and asked it some of our participants would be willing to knit or crochet scarfs for children in the area who needed some extra warmth,” said Jean Johnson, director of the Burton Senior Activity Center.

“I proposed it to our craft group and they were very willing to do it,” Johnson added. “Yarns of Love has grown. Our craft group still participates in it. A lot of our participants take part, and a lot of people who don’t participate in our center pick up yarn to make items and drop them off at the center.”


Seniors are enabled to make scarfs, hats, gloves and mittens for local children in a variety of colors and styles for children through the Yarns of Love program. 
Provided photo Seniors are enabled to make scarfs, hats, gloves and mittens for local children in a variety of colors and styles for children through the Yarns of Love program. Provided photo Johnson said a representative from the United Way picks up the handmade items at the center about every other month, and usually there are four large garbage bags filled with items. She said there are definitely hundreds of scarfs.

About four years ago, the United Way used a group from the Burton Senior Activity Center as part of their ad campaign.

“By Clio, Michigan on 75, there was a billboard with participants in Yarns of Love from our center,” Johnson said. “I was driving pass and I happened to see it. I knew they were using them as part of their campaign on literature and fliers, but didn’t know they were going to be on a billboard.”

To surprise the seniors, Johnson boarded them on the shuttle.

“When they asked where we were going, I told them they just had to wait and see,” she said. “When we got there, I pulled over to the exit ramp and told them to look at the sign. They were screaming and squealing, and they were excited to see themselves on a billboard. A lot of them showed their kids and grandkids the billboard in the same way.”

Johnson said the people who make the items have wonderful talent.

“The items are made in a variety of ways,” she said. “They use unique stitches that look different. Some are pastel, black and white, or made with fringe or other accents. Some use university colors: green and white or blue and yellow. One lady put curly things on the top of her scarfs.”

Johnson said see is excited to see the different colors and styles when she takes the items to the storage container.

“Some are for very small children, and some are for adult size children,” she said.

Johnson said a lot of seniors use crocheting and knitting for relaxing.

“For the Korean War Era, knitting and crocheting was a pastime, that started as a necessity,” she said. “My own father used to knit his own socks because he was a Depression Era kid and he had to. Nowadays, knitting and crocheting are becoming lost arts.”

“I don’t like just sitting,” said Delores Watts, 87, who makes items for Yarns of Love.

“I figure I can make a hat while watching television,” Watts added. “Knitting and crocheting are therapeutic, and this is rewarding.”

If interested in making items for Yarns of Love, visit the Burton Senior Activity Center or call 810-744-0960.

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