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Women perform ‘knitzvah’ for the needy
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Women perform ‘knitzvah’ for the needy

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks’ Women’s Philanthropy division recently launched “Lion Brand Knitzvah,” a multigenerational group dedicated to knitting scarves, hats, and blankets for local hospitals and other area recipients in need.

Sponsored by Lion Brand Yarn, a 135-year-old family-owned company based in Carlstadt, the group aims to “craft community creatively” while enjoying the opportunity to learn, bond, and share.

“As a knitter myself, I’ve always appreciated the unique warmth, sense of community, and spirit of friendship created through the act of knitting,” said Women’s Philanthropy director Paula Joffe. “In envisioning how we could apply this on a larger scale, I thought, ‘Why not create that kind of positive environment in our federation by organizing a knitting circle and working on projects that could benefit our constituents and agencies?’”

After holding its first meeting in March, Knitzvah’s core group of 10-12 members quickly got to work knitting ear warmers for Womanspace, a Mercer County nonprofit serving women in crisis.

Members are now making lap blankets for residents of Greenwood House, a nursing, rehabilitation, and assisted-living facility in Ewing Township.

“We’ll also be making preemie caps for use at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital through Bob’s Blankie Brigade and we aim to donate items to Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Greater Mercer County as well,” Joffe said.

According to Joffe, Princeton resident Carol Pollard, a lifelong knitter whose father was in the knitting business, was a natural choice to become Knitzvah’s Chairperson. “Knitting is in my blood and I was thrilled to see this group get launched,” Pollard said.

Knitzvah gives as much back to the knitters and the federation as they give to recipients.

“Knitting crosses the generations and appeals to women of all ages,” said Joffe. “This knitting circle has allowed us to reach into areas of our federation that haven’t been represented and provide them with an appealing and powerful activity to help draw their participation.”

Participant Helaine Lobman, a Princeton resident and member of Women’s Philanthropy, helped found in 2008 Bob’s Blankie Brigade, a nonprofit that provides knitted, crocheted, or quilted items to children and adults in hospitals, in honor of her late father. “Recipients are thrilled to receive these warm and loving touches,” said Lobman, who was recently honored for her work by the Mercer County Commission on Abused, Neglected, and Missing Children. “The knitting group also offers a great opportunity for women throughout federation to enjoy a common ground and strengthen their own community.”

The group meets on the second Thursday of each month at a private home from 12:30-2 p.m., with an additional evening session to begin in June. No experience is required and materials are provided to all attendees, though a donation of $10 per session is suggested. At each of the first two meetings so far, “we talked about each project and passed out materials,” Joffe explained. “We also discuss events going on in federation, so it’s been a nice way to both interact with women who are currently active as well as educate those who may be new to federation.”

For more information on joining Lion Brand Knitzvah, contact Pollard at 609-921-1699 or Joffe at 609-219-0555 or PJoffe@JewishPMB.org.

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