Despite COVID-19, ‘Knitting Grandmas’ Keep Making Hats for Newborns at Maple Grove Hospital
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped a group of women in Maple Grove from making caps for babies born at Maple Grove Hospital. Known as the “Knitting Grandmas,” they’ve knitted more than 45,000 hats for newborns since 2009. Recently, the group earned a Trailblazer Award for continuing their work during COVID-19.
Making the Hats
Knitted hats woven in softly colored yarn are placed in Sheila Enestvedt’s trunk every Monday. Enestvedt is among the volunteers who donate their time.
“I love doing the sports hats, those are my favorite,” said Enestvedt.
Phyllis Johnson started the Knitting Grandmas group 10 years ago when Maple Grove Hospital opened. The volunteer group started with three people. Now there’s 60 volunteers.
“It was fun because we found so many new friends and people interested in knitting,” said Johnson.
Volunteers craft the hats at home and drop them off at the Maple Grove Community Center on Mondays.
“We have to have 100 hats a week in order to keep up with the hospitals,” explained Jerry Enders.
The hospital has about 400 babies every month. To date, the knitters have created more than 45,000 hats for newborns.
“If by chance we get behind, we have to send an email for people to make more hats, but we never had to do that,” said Enders.
Even when COVID-19 broke out, the babies kept coming and the hats did too. Volunteers had to transition their meetings outside and still maintain a safe distance.
“Once the hats get to the hospital we’ve been getting them isolated for a period of time before we bring it up to the nursery,” said Jennifer Nelson, Maple Grove Hospital’s volunteer services manager.
And despite the global pandemic, knitting has given volunteers a purpose.
“I see a lot of babies leave. It’s always fun seeing them leave wearing one of the hats that’s from our group,” said Enestvedt.