Since its founding 10 years ago, the members of Ela Charity Knit & Crochet have lovingly made well over 10,000 items to donate to area churches, homeless and domestic violence shelters, veterans, schools, hospitals and other nonprofit organizations and causes.
Their handiwork, which members gather weekly at the Ela Community Center to create while enjoying each other's company, range from blankets and hats to scarves and baby clothes.
The group celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, May 17, with a catered dinner and cake, and live music from entertainer Dan Sullivan.
"It wouldn't be 10 years without you!" said Ela Charity Knit & Crochet founder Susan Fackler, who is a social worker and director of Ela Township Community Family Services. "You are very near and dear to my heart."
Fackler was inspired to create the group after visiting the Kids' Korner at the Lake County Courthouse, a waiting room at the Lake County Courthouse for children who are there to testify or whose parents or guardians are conducting court business. She wanted to do something for the children and had an idea to make comforting blankets they could hold then take home. Over the years, the knitters have made thousands.
"We have come together for a united cause and to help others. It's grassroots social work," Fackler said. "We've forged wonderful friendships. It's truly amazing."
The knitters were also lauded for their efforts by representatives from many organizations that have benefitted from their generosity.
Over the years Ela Charity Knit & Crochet has made donations to Kids' Korner, Lake County Haven, Joanie's Closet, Bookfriends International, Emmaus House of Hospitality, Women's Residential Services (WRS), A Safe Place, PADS Lake County, Preservation of Human Dignity (PHD) and the Salvation Army, among others.
Maria Sievert, volunteer coordinator for Lake County Haven, which helps homeless women and their children transition from the shelter to an apartment, said their clients have truly appreciated the donations of gift baskets that have included handmade doilies and potholders, dish towels, a cookbook and other items.
"You help them feel safe and secure," she said.
Letters of recognition and commendation from 19 Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge Jorge Ortiz, Presiding Judge of the Family Division Diane Winter and State Rep. Nick Sauer were read aloud.
"Thank you for 10 years of dedicated service and commitment to creating beautiful blankets for children in need," wrote Ortiz. "The blankets that you so lovingly create for this project help to bring security where there might be anxiety and a smile where there might be a frown."
Ela Township Trustee Joel Sikes said Rep. Sauer and State Sen. Dan McConchie will be present certificates of recognition to the members of Ela Charity Knit & Crochet in June.
Special thanks to Home Depot of Lake Zurich for the donated flowers and Rosati's of Lake Zurich for their support.
Do you knit or crochet? Want to learn?
Ela Charity Knit & Crochet meets from 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday, at the Ela Township Community Center, 380 Surryse Road, in Lake Zurich. Beginners and those with no experience are welcome to attend, as club members are always happy to share their know-how. The group also happily accepts donations of yarn.
For information, call Susan Fackler at (847) 540-8380 or visit www.elatownship.org/charity-knit-crochet.