Knitted hats for children in need

Knitted hats for children in need

Amy Reardon was in Florida when her mother-in-law gave her hats she had knitted for children with cancer at Cohens Children’s Medical Center.

The nurses’ aides were happy she had brought them in, she said, but she realized the hospital’s hat stock was low.

“It was a shock to me that they didn’t have any hats for the children,” said Reardon, a nurse practitioner at Cohens on the border of New Hyde Park and Queens. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Reardon, a Port Washington resident, posted on the Port Washington Mom and Dads Facebook page, asking people if they could help out.

“I just put it on Facebook on a whim,” she said.

In a short time, Reardon said, around 300 people responded to the post, commenting and sharing, looking to knit hats and scarves for the children.

“It was unbelievable.” Reardon said. “I had about every church and religious organization in Port and in the surrounding areas contacting me.”

She collected over 100 hats and some scarves in a few days, with people she had never met dropping boxes off at her house.

She received one box from an organization in New Jersey, a box from a woman in Huntington, hats from people in Virginia, and she made an arrangement with a factory to send hats from Vietnam.

“It is such an amazing feeling to know literally within minutes people wanted to help,” she said. “That’s what Port Washington is about: it’s people helping each other.”

A group of senior citizens who gather at the Jewish Community Center in Roslyn to knit for different charities decided to send Reardon hats and scarves, and they are working on more.

“We just finished about 20 hats and 15 scarves and we’re making more,” said Donna Shulman, director of adult and senior programs at the JCC. “I think for the seniors it gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. They always say it makes them feel very good.”

The handmade knit hats and scarves excite the children, too, Reardon said.

“I had one child today who was so unbelievably thrilled,” Reardon said. “She said ‘this is the most beautiful thing,’ and she was so thankful. She sent me a picture of her wearing it later in the day.”

Reardon said she never feels like she’s working when she’s with the children, but rather trying to help out.

“Some kids are in five days a week, and we try to brighten their days and their parents’ days, too,” she said. “I think that people need to remember the children are there and that there are so many different ways to help them and volunteer, either by donating hats and scarves or toys, or just doing anything small to help out.”

The hospital goes through hats quickly, Reardon said, which makes it hard to make sure every child has one.

“Not only do these children have cancer, but a lot of them don’t have that much money either, because they are spending it on chemotherapy and medication, so things like hats are an afterthought,” she said.  “It’s good that people are helping them.”

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