Sherry Hill, organizer and “head” of Midwest Head Huggers, firmly believes the work of the small but mighty group of knitters and sewers is a group effort—no title required.
Midwest Head Huggers began in 2006 by two women who wanted to use their skills to do something good for others. The ladies heard about Head Huggers, a national organization with chapters all over the country, that knits, crochets and sews items for those who face hair loss due to chemo, burn wounds and other diseases.
A Growing Group
The group, now with more than 40 members, grew primarily by word of mouth. About 20-25 people attend each meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at the Bedford Branch Library in Temperance.
“Many of our members have been touched by cancer either as a survivor or by knowing someone who has had it,” said Sherry. “Our group believes this is a great way to make a difference in other’s lives. I lost my mother to breast cancer 13 years ago. She constantly knitted and gave her items away. Mom would have loved being part of this group. We hand deliver or mail items to hospitals, hospice facilities and anyone else in need.”
Midwest Head Huggers makes hats, knitted healing shawls and “lapgahns” for people who use wheelchairs. “Lapgahns” fit over someone’s lap and are made so that it doesn’t get caught in the wheels of their chair. The group also makes ‘bravery capes’ for patients at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital. In fact, 32 capes have been made in the past two months.
The majority of work by these “charitable hands” is not accomplished at the meetings. “We do 99% of the knitting, crocheting or fabric making at home,” explained Hill.
And “home” can even mean outside of the local area. “We have a woman up in White Lake, Michigan, who mails items to me. Another woman, who lost someone to cancer, mails items to me from California to give to those in need,” said Sherry.
Making a Difference
It is rare for group members to meet the people who receive their fabricated gifts of care. Occasionally, they have received emails of thanks from the grateful people they have touched through their efforts. “We never expect thanks,” said Sherry. “Yet, when we do, it really makes us realize. ‘Hey, we really do make a difference’.”
Sherry finds helping those in need during a vulnerable time extremely rewarding: “If you have a bare head it’s sure to get cold—especially in the winter,” she says. This month, the group hopes to reach 15,000 completed knitted hats (over the past six years) at the upcoming Christmas party.
“Little did we know that when we started this that it would go this far. We are continually blown away by how we keep going,” said Sherry.
Midwest Head Huggers hopes to continue growing and sewing in the years ahead. And they welcome new members with open arms. “If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, we will show you,” said Sherry. “Many hands make light work. Just like those we help, we want members to feel that they are not in this alone.”
Unfortunately, Sherry said that the group never runs out of requests for items, which means the need is great.
“The need continues to be there but Midwest Head Huggers will continue to be there too,” said Sherry. “If our items put a smile on someone’s face and keep them warm, it is all worth it. A lot of love and prayers go into everything we do.”
For more information about Midwest Head Huggers, visit their website, www.midwestheadhuggers.org.