BY AMANDA MOSES
The Vandalia Sensational Seniors are interlocking the fabric of kindness one strand at a time with their crochet club (at the Vandalia Senior Center). Under the guidance of Program Director Simone Dundas, the club has crafted hats, scarves, and blankets, which are all donated to various shelters. Dundas is a firm believer in giving back to the community, and many of the seniors have the same outlook. For several years, she has worked with the seniors at the Vandalia Senior Center to help donate blankets to nursing homes, hats for homeless shelters, and tiny blankets for newborn babies whose mothers reside in shelters.
The American Cancer Society has deemed September as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month (as well as October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month). In light of cancer’s impact on millions of people, the Vandalia Sensational Seniors wanted to dedicate their latest project to sufferers of childhood cancer. They partnered with A Sister’s Faith Crochet Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring handmade blankets and hats to cancer patients.
Founder, Arlene LeBron started the organization five years ago with her sister, Maria Eunice Lee, who battled Lymphoma for eight years. During the first year of their organization, Lee was really sick but that didn’t deter her from developing A Sister’s Faith Crochet Project. LeBron says her sister dedicated her heart and soul into the project, and in turn it vitalized her with energy and hope. At age 31, Lee passed away from Lymphoma complications. LeBron and her family have continued to spread the outreach of A Sister’s Faith Crochet Project, hoping to one day make it a global program.
LeBron and her sister saw how chemotherapy would cause scalp sensitivity and more susceptible to the cold. They decided to make a project geared towards creating soft crochet hats and blankets. LeBron maintains this project to honor her sister and, “to see smiles in the lives of children suffering from a terrible disease and to inspire volunteerism to help make a difference.”
The Vandalia Sensational Seniors donated 81 blankets to A Sister’s Faith Crochet Project (as of right now the organization has a total of 200 blankets to donate). The donations will be given to three hospitals in New Jersey: Saint Michael Medical Cancer Center in Newark, Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark.
The blankets were all hand made by members of the Vandalia Sensational Seniors, but their creations wouldn’t have been possible without the kind yarn donations from various Brooklyn residents. Belma Weeks and Phyllis Hall, Spring Creek Towers’ residents and active members of the Vandalia Senior Center, lead the crochet club. They offered their thanks to donors and together with A Sister’s Faith Crochet Project they distributed certificates of appreciation to all participants.
Spring Creek Towers’ resident and Lions Club member Joyce Bolden was overjoyed to be a part of this project, and she plans on continuing to help as many people as possible one yarn strand at a time.
The Vandalia Senior Center’s next project involves upcycling purses and filling them with toiletries for women living in shelters.
If you would like to donate yarn or gently used purses to the Vandalia Center, please contact 718-272-3905 or visit them at 47 Vandalia Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11239.
Photo by Amanda Moses