Creation and camaraderie: Group in Summerlin area knits to help needy

About 20 seniors crocheted and knitted more than 500 winter items over the past year for nonprofit affiliates to distribute during the holiday season.

On Nov. 22, items such as scarves, hats and sweaters were bundled into bags and prepared for pickup. Green bags lined the table in the multipurpose room, a testament to the hard work.

The Humana Charity Crafters, a group of roughly 20 seniors, mostly women, created the donated pieces. They meet for two hours Wednesday mornings at Humana Guidance Center, 8885 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 140.

Each year, the crafters and Humana donate dozens of items to three nonprofits — Child Haven, part of the Clark County Department of Family Services ; Helping Hands of Vegas Valley, which provides services for senior citizens; and Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation, a nursing and rehabilitation center. Each group sends a representative to Humana to pick up the items.

Dana Serrata, executive director for Helping Hands, said it offers help for as many as 600 low-income people.

“Our senior citizens that we serve absolutely love getting something that’s handmade — that someone took the time to make for them because a lot of them don’t have family here,” Serrata said.

She added that Helping Hands distributes the donations on a rotating basis, giving to pantry program clients one year and the transportation program the next. This year’s effort benefits pantry program recipients.

Jean Catanzaro has been with the group for two years. She said she learned to knit and crochet at age 12.

“My mother would give us money to buy stuff, yarn or material to make a dress, so I learned at a very young age how to do this,” she said.

Catanzaro said she liked giving her time to help others and especially likes making sweaters for children.

Angel Makar, a native of Egypt, is new to the group. A longtime knitter, she is learning to crochet by getting instruction from other participants.

“I made maybe two things, not too much,” she said, adding that she had knitted scarves. “But I really love it, doing something to help.”

The women said they look forward to the time together and a chance to meet new people. Humana provides refreshments when they need a break.

Another longtime knitter, Edith Lichtenberger, joined Humana Charity Crafters two and a half years ago. She has taken on the task of rolling the yarn, ensuring it doesn’t contain knots, which makes everyone else’s work go faster.

“These are very nice women and it’s nice for the socialization,” she said of coming each Wednesday. “We all laugh and kibitz as we work. … Some of these women are so talented. They’ve been doing this since they were knee-high to a grasshopper.”

It can take a couple of hours to craft something like a hat, or a month for larger pieces like an afghan.

Rosalie Resnick said she joined Humana Charity Crafters about five years ago. She estimated she has made 100 pieces to donate in that time. Like many of the others, she takes her crochet projects home to complete them.

The group formed soon after the center opened in 2008. It began as a few women who brought their knitting in as they attended programs and soon evolved into a weekly club. Humana supplies the yarn for everything they make.

In addition to the Humana Guidance Center near Summerlin, a similar group meets each week at the Humana Guidance Center in Henderson, at 1000 N. Green Valley Parkway, Suite 720. Both groups are open to anyone.

Visit Humana.com/GuidanceCenter or call 702-380-6170.

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