Knitters furnish fuzzy feeling for less fortunate

WESTFIELD – There is local initiative to provide the city’s neediest with some additional warmth this winter.
Westfield-based social worker Cynthia Hartdegen has been leading a dedicated group of city knitters to donate handwoven and crocheted blankets to the city’s homeless and the residents of Our House, the site of the former Westfield Red Cross facility on Broad Street that is now owned by Domus, Inc. and provides housing for homeless teens.
“When we put out the call for blankets awhile back, we got a lot of help and some people made bigger ones for the shelter,” said Hartdegen. “We now have nine for Our House, which is the number of units there.”
Hartdegen said the blankets would be donated to Ann Lentini, executive director of Domus, Inc., in the fall and that Domus is continuing to accept blankets for Westfield’s homeless shelters.
“Those are given to each resident for them to take when they leave to keep them warm in their new residence or outside,” she said, adding that she is currently looking for another 3′ by 6′ non-wool blanket. “It’s really heartwarming to see people pull together for this.”
Hartdegen praised of the Westfield Yarn and Thread Studio on School Street for their help with the blankets.
“I’m very grateful to (Cynthia) for anything she’s able to do for the kids,” said Lentini. “She hasn’t given me a final number for how many (blankets) have been made, but I know they’ve been working on it for quite some time.”
“Once we start construction, it shouldn’t take longer than five to six months at the max, if that, then we’ll start filling it up,” said Lentini of Our House. “We’ve been receiving donations of some furniture, while others we’ll buy. From there, we’ll get the kids all settled.”
Anyone interested in donating goods for Our House can contact Domus, Inc. at (413) 568-4494 to schedule an appointment to check out the items.

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