On June 1, 2015, when Sheila Smith became Chairperson, she introduced the “fleece blanket” concept. Members spent the monthly meetings cutting holes in fleece which was very time-consuming and resulted in low productivity. Sheila began to cut all of the holes in the blankets herself, which allowed more time for crocheting and knitting during the meeting time.
In the beginning, only 25 pieces of cut fleece were brought to the monthly meetings to work on. Now, 130 pieces of cut fleece are brought to each monthly meeting!
Initially Caring Hands wasn’t funded as part of the Assistance League budget and members had to purchase their own fleece and yarn. Caring Hands was finally recognized as a viable contributor and was given a budget of approximately $700.00 a year. As the group began to grow and productivity increased, the budget was increased each year to a current amount of $19,100.00.
In the 2021-22 year, the members of Caring Hands donated over 7,000 items (handmade chemo caps and scarves, baby hats and blankets, layettes and quilts) to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, St. Louise Hospital, O’Connor Hospital, Family Suppportive Housing and to Parisi House on the Hill.
Lap blankets continue to be a popular prize chosen by Bingo participants at A Grace Rehabilitation Center and Acute Care, and at Stonebrook Health and Rehabilitation Center. Scarves, table runners, pillows, blankets and quilts are made and used at many of our fundraisers.
Caring Hands continues to be a unique program that provides a place for Assistance League of San Jose members to get together to enjoy and share their talents at crocheting, knitting and quilting.