A heartwarming donation

Last Modified: 2/22/2021

knitted hats - Laura Ferrell

While this past year has tested us all, it is evident that selflessness and compassion are still driving forces in the world today. So, to acknowledge recent acts of kindness, we asked Laura Ferrell, MSML, BSN, RN, vice president of patient services, Parkview Orthopedic Hospital, to tell us about her knitted hat-making adventure while Chris Howell, BSN, RN, coordinator, Parkview Community Nursing, speaks on the impact it has had at The Rescue Mission, a shelter for men, women and children that provides shelter, meals, support and more for those in a homeless crisis.

Can you tell me about the knitted hat project?

Laura: Unfortunately, after my husband passed in May of 2019, I was a little lost. My sister suggested that I try knitting as a hobby and get started on creating some hats. I was adamant that it didn’t interest me. She was persistent, telling me that I would enjoy it if I just gave it a try. Later that year, I decided to move my mom in with me. My sister came to help and brought her knitting machine. I watched her make one. It looked interesting, so I decided to give it a go and see what she was raving about. I made one and found that I enjoyed it. So, last March I bought myself a knitting machine and got to work.

When did this hobby become something more?

Laura: Honestly, after my husband’s passing, I felt like I needed a purpose. I couldn’t think of a better purpose than to give to others. With this in mind, I decided to set my sights high. My goal was to create 1,000 hats, then donate them to people in need.

Initially, I started only making men’s hats for homeless individuals, but then my mom chimed in, suggesting that there were probably women out there who needed and would love a nice, warm hat, too. That’s when we decided to get some more vibrant colors and began making women hats. My mom, who also passed away last year, even helped by making a pom-pom for each of the women’s hats.

As for the final count, I didn’t quite reach it, but I didn’t realize how many hats that meant I would need to create each day while working full-time. Although I fell short of my goal, I am proud that I got so close. I’m excited that I made so many, around 800 hats total. This means we can deliver 300 men’s hats and 300 women’s hats to The Rescue Mission and roughly 100 boys hats and 100 girls hats to The Charis House and St. Vincent House.

Is there a moment that stands out for you during this project?

Laura: I’m thankful that I had my sister pushing me, but it’s also the purpose of what I'm doing that keeps me going. Also, every time I make a pom-pom, I think of my mom, which is absolutely beautiful. It keeps her present and with me every day. There's nothing better than that.

Chris, what does it mean to the residents receiving these handmade gifts?

Chris: Well, the front desk at the men’s shelter is a busy place, so when I can hear a recipient acknowledge or comment in amazement on an item, I make sure to let them know that it was made with a prayer of warmth. I think they genuinely appreciate it.

What does Laura’s time and effort mean to you and the Rescue Mission?

Chris: I think ‚ÄčLaura is amazing! She has a servant’s heart and is kind as well as compassionate. I also value Laura’s consideration for others. She’s always asking if there’s something that is needed. While all donations are appreciated, certain items are more in demand than others, so asking before doing is very appreciated. Finally, besides these knitted hats, she also made plastic mats a couple of years ago for those sleeping outside. The Rescue Mission is very lucky to have volunteers like Laura.



Special thanks to Reenae Lane, surgical care coordinator, Parkview Health, for delivering all the knitted hats to The Rescue Mission.

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