Warm hearts, warm heads


When my friend, Barb Melom, suggested it would be really neat to have hand-knit hats to bring to the Simpson Housing Shelter on Christmas Eve to give as gifts to the homeless folks there, my first thought was “Definitely. Great idea. I’m on it.” 

Barb and I are both members of First Universalist Church (3400 Dupont Avenue) which has a long-standing relationship with Simpson. We also have a wealth of knitters in our church stitching group and greater community of friends so we confidently put the call out for 50 hand-knit hats and held our breath.

But then I thought about all of the knitters who are so interconnected online (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry) and decided that it would be pretty awesome to open it up and see what happened.

Let me share with you what has happened so far:

  • Hats have come in for this project from all over the Twin Cities, all over Minnesota and all over the country.

  • People of all ages are knitting with us, with our youngest knitters sending hats from an elementary classroom near Duluth.

  • Countless people have learned to knit specifically for this project and are starting off with a hat to share.

  • And, we’ve blown our original goal of 50 hats out of the water. We’re up to 100 hats now with more on the needles and in the mail right at this moment.

I read a story in a magazine once about a man who was helping baby turtles find their way back to the ocean after being born in the sand and getting confused by city lights (they were crawling away from the ocean towards the artificial light). There were literally thousands of turtles on the beach; it was an impossibly difficult task. Someone walking by asked the man why he was painstakingly picking up each turtle and redirecting them back to sea and wondered how it could possibly make a difference given the vastness of the problem. His simple reply after helping one turtle was “well, it made a difference to that one.”

If you want to help us with our project-creating hand-knit items of love for those who’ve lost their home and possibly their way-there is still time. Please knit a wool hat for a man or a woman and deliver it to the address below, along with my e-mail. You can contact me with any questions. We particularly need hats for larger adults. Our deadline for this project is December 19, but I expect we’ll be doing this again. 

We may not be able to end homelessness with this simple gesture, but we will make a difference in the lives of the men and women who receive these hats this winter. We will tell them that we care.  


Hats for the Homeless

First Universalist Church

3400 Dupont Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55408

Catherine Mandle lives in the Bancroft  neighborhood with her husband and two small children. They are members of First Universalist Church.