“Service by stitching”

RUBY VALUTIS | STAFF REPORTER

 

On a freezing winter’s night in Indianapolis, thousands are left homeless to brace the cold on their their own. Below-freezing temperatures make it difficult to survive through the winter time. A simple act of kindness can change their lives for even one minute.

The Knitting Circle at the Center for Faith and Vocation understands that people need to help, no matter how small the gesture is. Knitting scarves is its way of giving back to the community and helping the homeless feel a bit warmer this winter, one stitch at a time.

The Center for Faith and Vocation had always been just a building I walked past on the way to the Health and Recreation Complex. I had never really heard of the knitting circle that is held there Thursday afternoons.

This past Thursday, that all changed.

I walked in the front doors and immediately felt the comfort of being in a home. I originally only came for an interview, but that quickly changed.

Elaine Miller, an active group member, coined the name “service by stitching” to describe their relaxing Thursday afternoons.

Students knit scarves for the homeless at the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Students knit scarves for the homeless at the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Emily Hitchens, the director of campus ministry with the Butler Catholic Community, did not found the Knitting Circle, but has assumed the responsibility of running it. Since then, she has come to enjoy Thursday afternoons at CFV, she said.

After accepting her job as director, Hitchens explained that when she first arrived at Butler in fall 2014, she found a stockpile of at least 30 scarves in the basement of the CFV.

In December of that year, she took the scarves downtown to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, which houses a ministry program known as the Garden Door Ministry. It helps homeless people by giving them food, water and occasionally clothing, such as the scarves that Butler students make each year.

In just one night, all 30 scarves were distributed to the homeless.

“I wanted to put on my hat and scarf, and I was surrounded by so many people that do not have that,” Hitchens said. “You don’t even think about how that makes a big difference, just to be a little bit warmer when you are outside a lot.”

After initially talking about the knitting group itself, Hitchens invited me to stay and learn how to knit. I accepted her offer and took a seat in the center’s cozy living room.

I sat down with a group of very welcoming girls, and they explained how anyone can join the group, regardless of skill sets or religious affiliation.

Students knit scarves for the homeless at the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Students knit scarves for the homeless at the Center for Faith and Vocation.

It does not matter if you know how to knit or not. This group will welcome you with open arms and allow you to join in its afternoon conversations regarding how the week went or even just sharing some funny YouTube videos.

The Knitting Circle, or “Service by Stitching,” meets every Thursday afternoon from 4 to 5:15 p.m. in the CFV.

Donating these scarves is the perfect fit for those who have joined the new trend of knitting and for those who need scarves in our community.

Members are more than welcome to knit for their families or for themselves. But, Hitchens said, “There are only so many scarves you can make for yourself, for your friends or for your cousins and parents. You have to have some reason to keep making them.”

Photo courtesy of the Center for Faith and Vocation

Photo courtesy of the Center for Faith and Vocation

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