Knitting Scarves for Troops
Walk into the Eisenberg Village arts and crafts room, and one of the first things you’ll notice is the variety of knit items hanging on racks, sitting in bins, and dangling from hangers. Residents and volunteers produce these scarves, sweaters, hats, and blankets with expert precision and skill. It was these creations that sent Elaine Campbell, who heads up the Scarves for Troops program at Operation Gratitude, to the Jewish Home in 2010.
Scarves for Troops is a program launched by Sharon Howard, a long-time volunteer at Operation Gratitude, to provide knit items to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shortly after the organization was founded in 2003, Howard approached commanding officers in the military, asking what their troops needed most in care packages. Their answer: items for warmth. In 2010, Howard passed away after a long battle with cancer, and her friend Elaine Campbell took the reins, renaming the program the Sharon Howard Scarves for Troops program.
Using yarn both donated by Operation Gratitude and purchased by the Jewish Home, our residents and volunteers have contributed more than 50 scarves to the cause over the last two years.
“When I walk into that craft room, I am incredibly impressed,” exclaimed Campbell. “It’s just so well organized. It’s such a bright, cheery atmosphere.”
Radka Falk, who coordinates arts and crafts at Eisenberg Village, worked with Campbell and Jewish Home residents to gets things started.
“The residents and volunteers have a tremendous sense of pride being able to help Operation Gratitude,” Falk said. “They feel very touched to be able to make scarves for the troops.”
Around September, Falk, the residents, and volunteers start planning what to knit for the winter season. In addition to gifts for their grandchildren and items to sell, they always dedicate time to knit scarves for Operation Gratitude.
About a dozen residents and volunteers have contributed their time, energy, and knitting talents to making our troops warmer. Among them is Yetta Komsky, 92.
Komsky described taking up knitting as a hobby when she was younger while working for her father. “I knit constantly. I enjoy it!” About her involvement with Operation Gratitude, she explained, “It’s doing a good deed, and I’m happy to knit.”
To find out more about the Sharon Howard Scarves for Troops program and Operation Gratitude, click here. For more information about volunteer opportunities in the Eisenberg Village arts and crafts room, visit our volunteer page.