By Sarah Jackson
While the world’s eye has mostly shifted away from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the reality is that millions of Ukrainians remain impacted by the cost of war. This includes an estimated 4.3 million children who have been displaced within the country and into neighboring countries. According to UNICEF, the battles raging across Ukraine have led to the fastest large-scale displacement of children since World War II. With this in mind, the Knit Wits of Edgemere, a Lifespace community, are hard at work knitting caps to be sent via the Joshua Project to support a children’s hospital on the Ukrainian-Romanian border.
For the last decade, members of the Knit Wits have worked diligently on their homemade blessings, seeking opportunities to support organizations that make a difference in the lives of others both in Dallas and in the greater community. The group, which is passionate about the importance of finding a way to serve others and has created thousands of pieces throughout the years, sees their latest endeavor to support the children of Ukraine as an unquestionable responsibility.
“Beginning this project wasn’t a question for us,” says Pat Wessendorff, co-founder of the Knit Wits. “When we found out about a local connection to the Joshua Project that was regularly preparing donations to be sent to Ukraine it was an immediate yes for us. As we watched this conflict unfold, we wondered what we could do and wanted to help. This opportunity was one that we simply could not pass up.”
The group began their work in mid-July and currently has around 70 caps completed, with plans to send at minimum 100 items by the start of October. The Knit Wits work on the caps together on Friday afternoons, as well as individually in their spare time.
According to one of the group’s co-founders, Marianne Mead, while the Knit Wits group provides members the ability to make a difference in the world, it also supplies the opportunity to build relationships and bolster their mental health.
“This group strengthens all of us in a variety of ways, including physically and emotionally,” said Mead. “When we are here working, we cannot be focused on our own problems. We must concentrate and focus on the task at hand. Something as simple as knitting can have such an impact, not only on the individual but also in the lives of others, and that is why we do it.”
The Knit Wits hope their efforts can inspire others to find ways to serve and make a difference for someone else, particularly now as it relates to the war raging in Europe. They want the people of Ukraine to know they are cared for and not forgotten.
“It is truly an inspiration to watch the Knit Wits work and consistently seek new opportunities to make a difference,” said John Falldine, executive director of Edgemere. “We’re honored to stand alongside these women, as they remind all of us of the power behind kindness and generosity.”