Warm hands needed for knitting initiative: TOV collecting knitted lap blankets for seniors

Volunteers June Friedman; Carolyn Polak, Co-Chair of Warm Hands; Allison Cobrin, Senior Development Officer at Federation CJA; and volunteer Shelley Kerman with some of the scarves collected last year.

Last year, over 600 children’s scarves were knit for those in need to help them through the cold Montreal winters. Coming off the heels of that successful Tikun Olam Volunteers (TOV) ‘Warm Hands’ initiative, the hands of women volunteers across Montreal are busy once again. This time, TOV is collecting hand-knit lap blankets for seniors in residences across the city.

“We were provided with an important opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to our community and we are thrilled by the response we’ve received,” said Carolyn Polak, co-chair with June Baily of the Warm Hands project which started last winter. “Last year,  just through word of mouth, women were dropping scarves off at Federation CJA; a woman called from Florida asking if she could knit a scarf; and groups of women were gathering for ‘Warm Hands’ evenings. People who had never heard of TOV, people who weren’t Jewish and who weren’t active at Federation or in TOV heard about the program and wanted to be involved and make a difference. We are excited to be building on that success and working towards a new initiative that will help many elderly and vulnerable people in our community.”

The ‘Warm Hands’ project started as a vision of mothers and daughters getting together to knit scarves for children in the community in need, with the daughters earning community service hours. But what began as a small, grassroots initiative grew into a phenomenal celebration of volunteerism and dedication to the cause. The Tikun Olam Volunteers from Women’s Philanthropy rallied women from around the community to pitch in and help to ensure that the goal was reached. The scarves were delivered at the annual Back to School Giveaway in August organized by Federation CJA in conjunction with its agencies.

“We saw that women were really keen to get involved and to do something meaningful. They don’t have to leave their homes, they don’t have to come to an event, but this is a tangible way for them to be a direct help to people in need and our volunteers really responded to that,” said Lindsay Rothenberg, TOV Manager. “We chose to do lap blankets for seniors because we knew that many seniors living in residences often get cold and we were told that blankets are their number one request. We are counting on the community to once again put their sewing needles to good use by knitting lap blankets that will be donated to seniors’ residences around Montreal. We felt that this is a great way to bring some warmth to seniors’ lives and laps.”

The knitting group of Caldwell Residences presented TOV with 76 scarves for the “Warm Hands” project last year. Seen here from left to right: (Back row) Esther Mill; Phyllis Lohner; Allison Cobrin, Senior Development Officer at Federation CJA; Carolyn Polak, Co-Chair of Warm Hands; Mimi Dikman; Charlotte Amiga-Benzwy, Coordinator of Programs at Caldwell Residences; (Front row) Rhonda Wittenberg; Norma Palus; Riva Fleischman; Giselle Cuby; Ofelia Israel, knitting instructor at Caldwell Residences; Reina Sultan; Irene Martin; Anna Kuby; (seated front) and Merilyn Marcus.

To donate a hand-knit lap blanket or for more information, please contact Lindsay Rothenberg at 514.345.2645, ext. 3202 or email tov@federationcja.org .

We welcome your feedback and invite your comments.

Leave a comment

Reader comments are the opinion of the comment writer, not Federation CJA

Comments that make false or unsubstantiated allegations will not be published, nor will comments that contain defamatory, inaccurate, rude, distasteful, disrespectful, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented or threatening language.

Comments that use hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge also may not be permitted.

Federation CJA reserves the right to withhold from publication comments that are deemed to be spam or unrelated to the article at which they are posted. Comments that include personal attacks on other people taking part in this website and/or are invasive of another's privacy may also be withheld from publication.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes will not be corrected.