Flying Fingers members donate hats, scarves to children

Jan White and Ann Bohnet, both members of The Village at Orchard Ridge's Flying Fingers knitting group, package up hats and scarves for needy children in Winchester. Rachel Mahoney/Daily

WINCHESTER – Members of the Flying Fingers knitting group at The Village at Orchard Ridge handed off 300 sets of hats and scarves to area superintendents on Friday so children can keep warm this winter.

Winchester City Schools Superintendent Mark Lineburg and Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent David Sovine took 150 sets in various sizes to distribute to children in need after thanking the knitters and Orchard Ridge.

“I like to coin it as…the greatest generation partnering with the newest generation to make a stronger community and for that, we thank you,” Sovine said.

Lineburg said, “Anything that you can do to wash away the barriers of poverty helps, and poverty in our city and our community is certainly real and certainly a barrier.”

Orchard Hill Executive Director Melissa Fortner and CEO Larry Bradshaw also commended the knitters for their community outreach.

“I watch them every once in a while, I’ve been here a lot the last couple of months and I watch them – they’re flying, they’re really going,” Bradshaw said to laughter. “It’s a fantastic extension of what we do at National Lutheran – we’re just very proud to be a part of what you do here.”

He also announced that in honor of National Lutheran Communities & Services’ 125th anniversary, just under $500,000 will go to programs in the area that serve seniors into 2016.

Rhoda Kriz, one of the founding members, said Flying Fingers members used $300 of action grant money from Thrivent Financial to contribute to their project this year. With judicious use of coupons, members were able to purchase almost $600 worth of fleece material for scarves.

“When they give us that money, we can’t just turn around and give that money to a charity, we have to use that money to add value to it and involve other people,” she said.

In addition to the sets for children, members knitted a collection of hats specifically for mothers in need of winter wear after a special request from a young girl last year.

The knitters have also started taking on other community projects in the past year, including making shawls and blankets for Orchard Woods Health Center residents and chemotherapy patients and making hats for newborns.

Although Kriz said the knitters have been invited to tag along to the distribution, she’ll probably just send the hats and scarves on their way.

“It’s sort of a private thing…they don’t distribute them in the classroom because you don’t want to single out the kids as needy,” she said. “I’d love to see them in the hats but I respect their dignity.”

She said the knowledge they’ll be able to bundle up this winter is reward enough.

“I can’t describe how makes me feel to know that what we sit around having fun doing is really helping to keep kids warm,” she said. “And from what the school people tell us, the children really appreciate it.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com