What began as a simple gathering for residents of Woodland Terrace of Carmel, a senior living home, has grown into a weekly commitment to provide warmth for families in need.
Ann Meunier, the daughter of Nancy Nesbit, one of the senior residents, organized a group that meets every week to knit winter hats. The hats are donated to the Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St., Indianapolis. They are part of the church’s Christmas With Our Northside Neighbors program, an annual initiative that provides families with food, gifts, clothing and more during the holiday season.
Meunier, a Carmel resident, said for quite some time, her mother and other residents of Woodland Terrace expressed a desire to form a knitting group for the senior community. In December of 2022, Meunier organized weekly knitting sessions.
“I found an easy hat pattern that they could do, and we would knit these hats for charity,” Meunier said.
Initially, the hats were donated to the Northside Food Pantry at Second Presbyterian Church. The residents, however, became so passionate about their knitting that by March of 2023, they had produced more hats than the church could donate.
Pleased with how well the hats were received by families, the church saved the hats for this winter’s program. The knitting group has continued to meet each week to craft the gifts.
“These ladies have gotten so into hat-making,” Meunier said. “A lot of them hadn’t knit for a long time, and now we’ve made almost 200 and donated them.”
Besides helping those in need, the weekly knitting sessions have helped enrich the lives of the residents. They find joy in each other’s company and a sense of accomplishment as they knit.
Nesbit, 93, said knitting is a rewarding pastime that she’s enjoyed since her college years. She also enjoys knitting socks and prayer shawls.
“It’s very calming and satisfying when you get all done,” Nesbit said. “You’ve accomplished something.”
Phyllis Goodman, 87, said knitting helps residents stay active mentally and physically. Although she can’t knit like she used to, she contributes in her own unique way.
“They tried to teach me how to start, but my fingers just will not do it,” Goodman said. “I try to help them by using all of the scraps and doing the rolling.”
Meunier said the Northside Food Pantry serves approximately 800 families each month. The Christmas With Our Northside Neighbors program assists approximately 120 families, totaling approximately 600 individuals each year.