CAMDEN — Creating something by hand is a labor of love that takes time, patience and skill.
For a small group of Rutgers–Camden students, the reward comes not when the project is complete, but when it is enjoyed by those in need.
“If you have a skill and you use it to do something you love, and if you are able to take that skill and help others, it truly pays off,” says Alexandra Blake-Sanderlin, a sophomore English and German major from Lower Alloways Creek in Salem County.
Blake-Sanderlin is one of seven Rutgers–Camden students who are members of the student-run club Knit 1 Care 2. The group, started by the students during the fall 2012 semester, creates clothing or comfort items for charitable organizations.
This semester, they are making blankets for Project Linus, a nonprofit organization based in Bloomington, Ill. that provides homemade blankets to children in need.
“It’s an extra sense of accomplishment to be able to create something and give it to someone who really needs it,” says Patricia Gordon, the club’s president and a psychology major from St. Mary’s, W.Va. “We started the group as a way to provide some community service through our knitting.”
For Project Linus, the students are working with a local chapter that will distribute the blankets to South Jersey children.
Not all members of the student group knew how to knit or crochet when they joined it. In fact, its members encourage inexperienced knitters to join so they can teach them.
“I had always wanted to learn how to knit so it was an opportunity for me,” says Russell Tichian, a sophomore business management major from Haddon Township. “I had no experience when I went to the first meeting, but the more experienced members of the group taught me how to knit and gave me my first pair of needles as well.”
The students meet as a group throughout the week and also knit in their own time to finish the projects.
Last semester, the students of Knit 1 Care 2 made scarves for military men and women for Operation Gratitude, a California-based organization that annually sends more than 100,000 care packages to U.S. service members.
“Crocheting and knitting is a great de-stressing activity,” says Mary McCabe, a junior computer science major from Haddonfield. “It boosts my mood and gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I finish a piece, especially if it is for someone in need.”
The club members say they are looking for other nonprofit organizations to work with in the future and are always seeking new members.
“As students, we’re part of this community, so it’s nice to be able to give back to it,” Blake-Sanderlin says. “We don’t want to simply live here and hide in our dorms. We want to be out in the larger community and do our part to get involved.”
For more information about the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse