More than 150,000 stitches will keep kids warm

Minnetonka knitting group makes hats, scarves for Coats for Kids drive

A knitting group at a Minnetonka church has made more than 150,000 stitches in the last year to keep children warm this winter.

“It’s a lot of stitches,” said Mary Gunness, of Plymouth, who is a member of the knitting group at Oak Knoll Lutheran Church.

Since last fall, the group has been making hats and scarves for Pilgrim Cleaners’ annual Coats for Kids collection. So far the group has turned in at least 150 pieces and expects to collect more in the next couple weeks. Gunness estimates each hat takes more than 1,000 stitches.

Last year during Pilgrim Cleaners’ annual Coats for Kids drive, one of the group members Dolores Barron of Minnetonka read an article in the Sun-Sailor about a woman who was knitting winter garments and donating them to Coats for Kids. Barron was part of a knitting group at Oak Knoll Lutheran Church in Minnetonka. Each year the knitting group picks a community service project, so Barron suggested the Coats for Kids drive for this year’s project.

The others in the group liked the idea, so for almost a whole year, they have been knitting scarves and hats using the excess yarn donated by members of the congregation.

“It’s something local, and it’s easy to do,” Barron said.

The donations will be picked up Oct. 17 and be distributed to local charities.

This year’s Coats for Kids drive runs through Friday, Oct. 12. Sun Newspapers is a media sponsor.

Anyone who wants to donate a gently used coat can take it to any of the 25 Pilgrim Cleaners locations or the Sun Newspapers offices in Eden Prairie and Osseo. The program accepts coats for children and adults, as well as new hats, mittens and scarves.

Pilgrim will clean the coats and give them to eight metro-area charities, which will distribute them to those in need.

Community members can also send monetary gifts to the Coats for Kids fund, c/o Pilgrim Cleaners, 3217 85th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park 55443. One hundred percent of donations will go toward purchasing new children’s coats.

Schools are encouraged to organize their own coat drives. The school that collects the most will win a Subway party and a plaque for the school.