Stacks and stacks of soft, warm and colorful knitted items filled Solid Ground’s meeting rooms this week — 3,039 items, to be exact. Lovingly handmade by volunteers over the course of the year, these cozy hats, mittens, scarves, baby sweaters, blankets and more will end up with families and individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, helping them stay warm during some of Seattle’s gloomiest months.
For over two decades, Knit-It-Alls (KIA) volunteers from Solid Ground’s RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) have quietly created mountains of warm items. RSVP gathers them together at the start of the holiday season to package and distribute to nearly 25 local housing programs, food banks, and other community organizations. The agencies in turn get them to people in need across King County.
Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Basta reports that any given year, 30 to 50 volunteers participate — and they broke a record this year by creating and donating more than 3,000 items!
RSVP Program Coordinator Jan Hancock says, “I love this labor of love that happens throughout the year but culminates with the bagging and distribution of items in late November and early December.”
Jan also explains that “Knit-It-Alls” is a bit of a misnomer, because donations are not only knitted — they are also crocheted, quilted and sewn.
Laid out in neat piles before being packaged for distribution, the items look like candy in a store display: an explosion of cozy, kaleidoscopic color. My personal favorites are the baby sweaters, which one volunteer described as “miniature works of art.”
Thank you, KIA volunteers, for contributing your time, skills, love and art to keep people warm this winter.