JONESVILLE — The gratitude was overwhelming Wednesday as the knitters at the Yadkin Valley Senior Center dedicated prayer shawls to Mountain Valley Hospice with the help of Alan Barker, pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in Yadkinville.
After joining with the knitters and guests from Mountain Valley Hospice to offer a prayerful dedication over the shawls, Barker asked the ladies several thoughtful questions learning about the process of knitting as well as the different habits of those present.
Several of the near 80 shawls were specifically for the We Honor Veterans program as well as a small table for those specifically for babies.
“We are starting to become the hospice of choice for Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston and the Neo-natal Unit at Baptist because we are a non-profit,” explained Sherry Berman, who is the Elkin volunteer resource coordinator at Mountain Valley.
“You don’t think of babies needing hospice,” noted Gilda Pruitt, volunteer coordinator for the senior center.
The shawls become an important part of the grieving process for many families as well as patients with many families using them in place of flowers to cover coffins. “The appreciation of our patients and their families during our presentation of a veteran prayer shawl is something that I am honored to be a part of,” said Sherry Milholand-Gibson, Yadkin volunteer resources coordinator. “It is a small way of giving back to those who gave so much for our country.”
Although red, white and blue shawls are used for the veterans, prayer shawls can be any color and pattern as long as they are a minimum of 21 inches wide by 60 to 65 inches in length. There are several groups that gather throughout the Yadkin Valley for the purpose of knitting these gifts for hospice patients.
The group in Jonesville is unique. “This group does their own fundraising to pay for yarn,” explained Pruitt.
On Good Friday every year and the following Saturday, these knitters turn into bakers. They set up a bake sale at the Foothills Meat Center in Jonesville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., although they usually run out of treats by noon on Saturday.
“There is not anything there that you wouldn’t be proud to put on any table,” bragged Berman.
Doris Johnson remembered when the group at the Yadkin Valley Senior Center started, “There were about four of us that day. At one time we had about 20 some. We lose one every once in a while and we pick up a new one.”
Meeting every Wednesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., these ladies are happy to have others join them. “They welcome anyone who wants to come,” said Pruitt, “and if you don’t know how to knit, they’ll teach you.”
Although there are many groups to choose from anyone can start a prayer shawl group or individuals can donate finished shawls or the yarn with which to make them by contacting Director of Volunteer Services Pat Younger at 336-789-2922 or any volunteer resources coordinator at the local office.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.