Warming Hearts and Heads

Calumet’s Hats for Hope Donates Handmade Goods to Seniors

One thing that always makes interactions more exciting is offering them a homemade gift of warmth. Calumet’s Hats for Hope Initiative is a knitting chapter based in Calumet. These individuals gather every week to catch up and create homemade items, all while doing something good for the community.

Copper Country Senior Meals is a vital service for many senior citizens in the U.P. They provide a homemade, fresh cooked meal to seniors that are home bound or have transportation limitations. Unfortunately, the interactions between residents and their drivers are sometimes the only connections they get to make in a day.

Jen, a member of the knitting group and former director of Copper Country Senior Meals, recognized this disconnect for residents and sought out one way to mitigate the issue. She proposed that the Calumet’s Hats for Hope group work to bring seniors of the Copper Country some delight and warmth.

While knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving are among a few of the passions they have, they all share a passion for the area and caring for the people in it. Many residents do not have the resources to obtain items that are necessary for the harsh winters of the Copper Country. The members of the group are happy to provide and create hats, scarves, shawls, mittens and lap blankets.

“Well over 1,000 items are given away each year,” Sue, the original organizer of the group, explained. “Everything that is donated stays in the U.P., nothing is ever sold.”

This group has been together since October of 2015, outlasting setbacks like the pandemic. They even get together on some holidays, one member saying that the get together is their “sanity break for the week.”

The group has also donated hats and other goods to U.P. schools, VFWs and care facilities such as the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home.

“There’s a lot of need, we feel like if one hat makes a difference, then it is worth it,” said Sue. After realizing that they could not keep up with the demand, Sue put out a call for donations on the Calumet Hats for Hope Facebook page and was overjoyed to see goods arrive from all over the country.

“It makes you feel good to know that you are able to create something that will help others stay warm,” said Susan, member of the group.

“It warms our hearts to keep them warm,” said Teri, to which other members agreed whole heartedly.

The group has served as a second home for its members, many of which are not from the Copper Country originally. The donations have been one way for them to connect with locals and build lasting relations with community members.

The sense of home and belonging extends to the people that receive hats, mittens and scarves. Human connection can brighten anyone’s day, but few love and appreciate it more than the people who receive Senior Meals.

Some wear their items every time they see their driver just to show how excited they are to have it. Jen recalled one man who wore his handmade mittens every single day until they wore out and he needed a new pair.

“There’s nothing cooler than seeing someone in town wear your hat,” Jen said.

The group continues to meet weekly on Mondays at the Calumet Art Center. While they are done delivering for this winter, they plan to continue their efforts with Hats for Hope for next winter. In the meantime, they are considering focusing on the blossoming of spring and the blossoming of life, babies.

If you would like to get involved, you can message them on Facebook. They are always taking yarn donations, and the group is open to anyone.