Ela Charity Knit & Crochet members Carol Hess and Rita Grespam keep working at the holiday potluck on Dec. 16.

Ela Charity Knit & Crochet members Carol Hess and Rita Grespam keep working at the holiday potluck on Dec. 16.

Every Wednesday for the past eight years, a group of Ela Township women have gathered at the community center to knit, crochet, chat about the latest news and enjoy each other’s good company.

It’s exactly what Ela Township Community and Family Services Director Susan Fackler envisioned when she founded Ela Charity Knit & Crochet.

“When I decided to start this group, I saw a need,” she said. “The women in the area didn’t seem to have a connection.”

Fackler felt the group would be a great way for members to not only socialize and share their love for knitting and crocheting, but to put their talents to work for the benefit of those in need, including the homeless, battered women, veterans and children.

She was right.

“We have all ages that are forging relationships and doing a lot of good for the community,” Fackler said.

Over the past eight years, group members have handmade more than 5,000 blankets, hats, scarves, baby items and more for donations to area churches, homeless and domestic violence shelters, schools, hospitals and other nonprofit organizations and causes.

“This is an amazing group,” Fackler said.

Ela Charity Knit & Crochet

Ela Charity Knit & Crochet members gather for a group photo at their 8th annual holiday potluck on Dec. 16.

Comfort and care

One of the group’s longtime beneficiaries is Kids’ Korner at the Lake County Courthouse. Founded in 1994, Kids’ Korner is a children’s waiting room for ages 2 through 12. The room provides a safe and fun environment for children who are in the courthouse to testify or whose parents or guardians are conducting court business.

Each month, Kids’ Korner serves about 200 children. Upon their first visit, every child receives a handmade blanket to comfort them, and to keep.

The blankets are made by area knitting and crocheting groups like Ela Charity Knit & Crochet, which has donated about 1,000 blankets to Kids’ Korner to date.

Roseanne Sherwood of Kids' Korner and Susan Facklam, Director of Ela Township Community and Family Services, play Santa with bags of handmade blankets donated by Charity Knit & Crochet members.

Roseanne Sherwood of Kids’ Korner and Susan Facklam, Director of Ela Township Community and Family Services, play Santa with bags of handmade blankets donated by Charity Knit & Crochet members.

At their annual holiday potluck on Dec. 16, Ela Charity Knit & Crochet presented 100 more blankets to Kids’ Korner representatives Roseanne Sherwood and Sue Hrycymiak.

“This group has been wonderful,” Sherwood said. “They have open hearts. Many of the ladies have also come to visit (Kids’ Korner).”

Between sampling each other’s homemade dishes and socializing, several group members worked on their latest charity projects, such as the American Heart Association’s “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign.

The hats will be given to babies born in February at participating hospitals. The purpose is to awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country, according to the association.

Dottie Hammer, Ela Charity Knit & Crochet member, made and gave away 40 Christmas stockings this year.

Dottie Hammer, Ela Charity Knit & Crochet member, made and gave away 40 Christmas stockings this year.

Group member Dottie Hammer, who both knits and crochets, enjoys making baby blankets and Christmas stockings.’

“I’ve given away 40 this year,” she said of the stockings. “I have to start working on them in March.”

Hammer said donating her work gives her a “very warm feeling.”

All welcome

Ela Charity Knit & Crochet meets every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ela Township Community Center, 380 Surryse Rd., in Lake Zurich.

Beginners and those with no experience are welcome to attend, as the other members are always happy to share their know-how.

It's OK if you don't know how to knit or crochet, members of Ela Charity Knit & Crochet can teach you!

It’s OK if you don’t know how to knit or crochet, members of Ela Charity Knit & Crochet can teach you!

The group also happily accepts donations of yarn.

For more information, call Susan Fackler at 847-540-8380 or go online at http://elatownship.org/charity-knit-crochet.