Throughout the fall semester, several students spent their free time between classes knitting colorful caps for adults, children and babies being cared for at local health care facilities.
The effort was led by Morgan Holland, a freshman attending East Tennessee State University at Kingsport Allandale. Holland was inspired to start “Hats for Hope” after her late grandmother, affectionately known as “Granny,” passed away in early September. During Granny’s cancer treatments, Holland said she always appreciated the kindness people showed by providing patients with food and homemade items.
“Granny said she wanted to make things like that when she got better, but the cancer came back and when she passed away I felt like it was something I should do and she would have enjoyed,” she added.
Holland has been using a loom to knit hats since she was in third grade and had made them for her granny to wear after she lost her hair. She mentioned her idea to make and donate hats to fellow student Jessica Shupe, president of the Kingsport Students Service Organization, and soon about a dozen students joined Holland to knit 50 adult caps. Each one took about three hours to complete.
“Hats for Hope has been so meaningful to everyone involved. We have put countless hours and effort into making them,” Shupe said. “Seeing something you made with your own hands go to someone who will truly cherish and need it is rewarding.”
The first 50 hats were donated to the Wellmont Cancer Institute Allandale Outpatient Center where Holland’s grandmother received treatment. Then, the students made 40 smaller caps, which they recently donated to Niswonger Children’s Hospital.
Holland taught classmates how to make the hats, who then began teaching their friends. The project became a stress-reliever for students.
“Hats for Hope has been a great way to de-stress between classes and homework,” said Chloe Anderson, a sophomore who participates in Hats for Hope. “We have enjoyed making the hats so much that I think it has become a new hobby for a few of us.”
The ETSU at Kingsport students plan to continue “Hats for Hope” during the spring semester and Holland says they would like to get more students involved.
“It’s been wonderful to see how much people care,” she added. “Nothing can replace not having my granny with me, but I continue to make sure a quote she always said is sewn into each hat – ‘Life is far too short to keep your bloomers in a wad.’”
For more information about “Hats for Hope,” contact Debbie Marsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-392-8004.