Knitting group making hats and toys for Ukrainian refugees – Daily Press

New Kent County — A local group is helping out to make items for Ukrainian refugees overseas and is inviting the community to help.

“Anything we can do to give back, we do,” said Bethann Ford, leader of the Heritage Public Library’s From the Heart knitting group.

Vessels of Mercy International recently sent out a request to all active From the Heart chapters asking them to send hats and small warm items to refugees flooding in from Ukraine.

There are about 15 active members in From the Heart chapters in New Kent and Charles City counties, Ford said. The New Kent branch alone made more than 70 hats to send to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Ukraine.

The From the Heart organization, which was first launched in Richmond, sent more than 1,000 items from the Richmond and Fredericksburg areas earlier this month.

“From the Heart is a group of like-minded people who knit, crochet and sew and strive to meet people’s needs,” Ford said.

Community home artisans are also encouraged to create and donate items.

“Some people can only do one thing and that’s okay,” Ford said. “Every part counts. If that person likes doing it and the person likes getting it, then that’s all that matters.

The most urgent need is neutral hats for babies and children, especially boys, and for men.

Hats can be any fabric, including wool blends, but cannot be 100% non-washable/non-dryable wool.

There is also a need for Izzy “comfort dolls”, small soft toys and handcuffs for children. Patterns are available on the From the Heart website at

Items can be donated at both branches of the Heritage Public Library until April 19. Ford will deliver the donations to Richmond the following day.

“My goal is to fill up my car,” she said. “Wouldn’t that be a good thing?” »

Since its inception three years ago, the Heritage Public Library’s knitting group has made thousands of items for cancer and dialysis patients, the homeless and premature babies, as well as artificial nests for wildlife and face masks.

“We made 600-700 face masks which were distributed to Charles City High School during COVID and we partnered with the Rotary Club to make and send 275 face masks to a school in Africa,” Ford said.

The group is able to provide these services thanks to grants of $4,000 from the New Kent Rotary Club and Rotary District 7600.

The money has been used in the past to purchase durable materials including thread, sewing machines, shears, two storage cabinets, rotary cutters, pins and needles, and books.

The New Kent branch of the From the Heart Heritage Public Library Knitting Group meets on the second Tuesday and the Charles City branch meets on the third Monday of each month at 2 p.m. Meetings are available via Zoom on the library’s website.

The New Kent Heritage branch is located at 7791 Invicta Lane, New Kent, and the Charles City branch is located at 10900 Courthouse Road, Charles City.