By LOIS KINDLE
Anyone who knits, crochets or sews is invited to join the Happy Stitchers, a newly formed social group in Sun City Center.
“It’s going to be informal and fun, an opportunity for people to enjoy the company of others, while sharing their time and talents making prayer shawls and lap blankets for others,” said Kim Bauer, the group’s founder/coordinator. “The items we make will freely be given to anyone in need of peace and comfort, including those who are ill, lonely, grieving or in despair.”
“I’m a retired nurse, and you just don’t realize what a comfort these bring and how well they’re received,” said Cindy Kuechenmeister of Sun City Center.
Bauer knows this, first hand.
“I was so touched when both of my parents received prayer shawls more than 20 years ago at a hospice facility in Rochester, N.Y.,” she said. “It was such a comfort to them and my family, something I have never forgotten and want to share with others. That’s why I’m starting this group.”
Everyone is welcome to join the Happy Stitchers. This includes anyone living in Sun City Center, Kings Point or surrounding communities.
You can attend whenever you like, and there’s no cost involved. Coffee, tea and cookies will be served during the meeting between 10 and 11:30 a.m., and stitchers are welcome to stay for a free lunch at 11:30 a.m., provided by Metropolitan Ministries at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the site hosting the Happy Stitchers gatherings.
Even if you don’t knit, crochet or sew, you can participate by donating yarn to the Happy Stitchers by dropping it off at the church office weekdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Shawls or lap blankets may also be made at home and donated to the group via the church office. Regardless of where they’re created, the Rev. Edwin Gonzalez-Gertz, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church pastor, will bless them before they’re distributed.
“This community relies on groups like [the Happy Stitchers],” he said. “The biggest illness we have here is loneliness.
“The group is a way for people to connect with one another, be together and bless others wherever they are,” he said.
Even though the group has yet to meet, word is quickly spreading around the community.
“We’ve had such a positive response,” Bauer said. “I have neighbors and friends who’ve already started creating shawls or lap blankets at home. Two have already been distributed to shut-ins.
“And just by word of mouth, we’ve received at least a dozen pieces by women who are excited about joining the group,” she said.
The Happy Stitchers first meeting will be Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1239 Del Webb Blvd. W, Sun City Center. The group will meet at the same time every Wednesday thereafter.
For more information, contact Bauer at 813-344-9213 or firstname.lastname@example.org/.