Polk County Publishing Company, P.O. Box 1267, Livingston, TX. 77351 - (936) 327-4357
 
Polk County Enterprise - Local News

Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Club provides special gifts to local children

 

BY BRIAN BESCH
Enterprise staff
pcenewsroom@gmail.com

LIVINGSTON -- Founded in February of 2001, Hook n' Needle Charities Club is made up of volunteers interested in helping those in need in Polk County. The group's two main projects are newborns at Livingston Memorial Medical Center and Empty Stocking for the needy children of Polk County at Christmas. All donated items are given free of charge and nothing is ever sold. "I wanted to make items for the babies and I knew I couldn't make enough myself to supply everything that was needed," Club Founder and Advisor Joan Reeves said. "I checked into a charity group to see what is needed when I was in Houston. Then I thought, 'wait a minute, we have people here that need it. Why should I send it off?' But, I knew I could not make enough by myself to supply all of them here. I thought, 'well Lord, what do I do?' He said, 'start a group.' It has just grown tremendously." Every baby born at Livingston Memorial receives a packet from Hook n' Needle. Those fortunate enough to receive a gift from the talented group do not receive cheaply made items. "It is crocheted, knit or sewn," Reeves said. "They are handmade items for the babies. Blankets, caps and booties, that is the three items, plus we are doing throws for the people in wheelchairs. We had a lot of caps made one year that were too big for babies. They took the leftovers and gave them to Empty Stocking for the children and that program grew from there." Although they make items for all ages, a large portion of the items given to Empty Stocking are for the teenagers of families that qualify for assistance. Over 877 gifts were donated to that endeavor, including ponchos, sweaters, lap throws, purses, tote bags, slippers, caps, scarves, mittens, stuffed toys and animals. Reeves explained that the quilters get tired of making the same things, so they make what they want and a home is found for them. "This year, it has been requested that some of this goes to children in foster homes, so some will go to that," Reeves said. "We're going to check with Child Protective Services about making tote bags. When they take a child out of the home, they will have a bag to put their personal belongings in instead of a plastic sack. One of our ladies works with the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and she was talking about blankets for the kittens and dogs whenever they are adopted. Handmade quilts and crocheted blankets — two bags full — were made for SPCA for the new puppies and kittens when they are adopted. It is just as things get mentioned to us and we hear about them." There are no qualifications or fees required to join and many members are from the Escapees RV group, who enjoy crafting while on the road and mail their finished items. "We almost disbanded the group about six or seven years ago, because a lot of husbands were dying with cancer and we weren't able to keep up with it," Reeves said. "At that point we cut back on the different things we were doing and focused just on the babies and Empty Stocking. We considered shutting down and a lady said, 'we need the fellowship.' So, we stayed, because most of us are retired, but some of us still work and we need the fellowship and some place to go and someplace to talk with other people, so that is a big part of what we're doing here. Now that the group has grown, we are expanding and doing more things. I think we started back then with about eight or 10 people and we're up to three dozen now." Reeves is an award-winning, published crochet designer, winning first place in a couple of contests for designing. She has been published in leisure arts magazines and her patterns have been published. "If they have problems understanding patterns, I teach patterns and different types of stitches," she said. "I've been doing this now for 60-something years. They don't all come to the meetings, a lot of the Escapees send the stuff in or as they're driving through, drop it off. I have one lady that lives in North Carolina that every month sends me a box of stuff for the babies. We have a meeting once a month and we are the loudest group that there is, but we have fun and that is one of my main focuses." When she looks back on what the club has become and the good it has done the community, Reeves said it is a combination of volunteers willing to help and those who donate to support the cause. "I never dreamed it would be this big," she said. "It is just such a blessing. They say find a need and fill it. I started it to help people and I think we get more of a blessing out of it than the people we see. God impressed me to do it, so I called the hospital here and asked them, 'would you have a need for it or would you want it?' They said, 'oh, yes we would love it.' With word of mouth, it just keeps growing. We also get donations of yarn and fabric. We have parents here that don't even have a blanket to take their baby home in and that was what cemented the need here when I found that out. I felt like every baby deserves something special and we do it because we care. We care about kids. We've got some very talented people. We all buy our own yarn and fabric unless it gets donated." Reeves said new members are always welcomed. Instructions and patterns are available and fellowship is a major priority to the group. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month in the dining room of the hospital from 1-2:30 p.m. If you are crafty, enjoy giving back to the community and are interested in Hook n' Needle, the group would like to have you as a volunteer. Donations of supplies and yarn are always welcomed as well. For additional information, contact Reeves at 936-327-1989

 

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