New hats of many colors stitched by many hands

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LONDON, Ohio — A great pile of caps of many colors, constructed by visitors during the three days of the Farm Science Review, will warm the heads this winter of every child in the Columbus Homeless Families Foundation housing complex.


      The “I made a hat for a homeless child today” activity was set up at OSU Central on the Review grounds, sponsored by OSU 4-H, with the cooperation of Singer Sewing Machines, which provided the four machines that stitched the caps together.


      Those attending the Review were invited to “Sit Down and Sew,” to donate 15 minutes of their time to homeless children.


      And the people stopped, looked, and kept the machines humming all three days of the show.


      The goal was 250 fleece stocking caps — a goal that was met and exceeded.


      Rectangles of material needed to sew a cap were provided in several bright, bold prints, and in a rainbow of plain colors.


      ”I had no idea there would be so many,” said Eileen Kirsch, director of the Homeless Families Foundation, when she came out to Farm Science Review last Thursday to accept the donation.


      ”With all of these, every child who wants one will be able to have a hat this winter.”


      There are 299 children now living in Homeless Families housing in Columbus.


      Homeless Families Foundation is an organization that supports children by providing a stable environment for families in need at times of emergency.


      It has 75 apartments available, and allows homeless families to stay in them as long they need to in order to stabilize their situation.


      Kirsch said the philosophy is that the best way to help a child is to help create a stable family.


      The average stay in foundation housing is 106 days, she said, but some families have stayed as long as a year. There is no time limit.


      ”We want to let the children know that even though their families are having a bad time right now, that it doesn’t have to be that way forever.


      ”We want them to know that there is hope, that they can do what they decide they want to do, that they can achieve goals.”


      Started at state fair.


      The state 4-H program introduced the hat project at the Ohio State Fair, and then brought it to the Farm Science Review.


      During the Review, the booth with sewing machines and instruction in how to sew the hat (for those who needed help) was constantly busy.


      Cheryl Hart from Carmichael, Pa., said she came back to the booth more than once.


      ”While my husband and son are looking at machinery, I’d rather be here doing this,” she said. “I told them they would find me right here when they are finished.”


      And as each hat was finished, the maker attached a tag with his or her name to reach out and touch personally the child who will eventually wear that cap.

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