Knitting with purpose: affinity group donates winter wear to young students

January 10, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 9)
Article by Michele Coffill

It's knitting with more than a purpose.

Knitters from an affinity group sponsored by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute created more than 230 mittens, hats and scarves for students at Godfrey Elementary School in Wyoming and delivered the items in late December. 

And while that is certainly a noble purpose, Interfaith and Interwoven group members who knit together weekly also learn more about each other, their celebrations and struggles, and their faith communities.

The group formed in 2015, co-created by Karen Meyers, retired director of GVSU's Regional Math and Science Center, and Yehudit Newman. Meyers is Christian, Newman is Jewish.

"We used to meet in person at Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, then during COVID-19 we started meeting on Zoom," Meyers said. "While we knit, we talk about everything: faith traditions to social justice challenges, including the rise of antisemitism."

Meeting virtually has not cut into their production. Meyers said the group delivered more than 200 items to Godfrey Elementary in 2021. 

The connection to the school dates back to the group's formation. Meyers said Newman had a friend who taught fourth grade at Godfrey Elementary. That teacher expressed a need to Newman for her students to have better winter wear and Newman brought it forward to the group.

Kyle Kooyers, associate director of Kaufman Interfaith Institute, said Interfaith and Interwoven is a great way for crafters of all experience levels to connect. 

"It's a great way to build relationships across differences through a shared hobby and serve our community in the process by ensuring students will be warm in the winter," Kooyers said. "The age span of the group is such that you have people born during World War II sharing stories with younger people, and vice versa."

More information about Interfaith and Interwoven can be found online.

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This article was last edited on January 10, 2023 at 9:35 a.m.

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