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Giving warmth during the holidays


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Alice Campbell Havre Daily News [email protected]

The bitter cold winter settled over Havre's plains provided ample reason for children at a local headstart program to receive hand-knitted and crocheted mittens and slippers Tuesday. Children in Jen Graham's class at Northern Montana Child Development Center Headstart on Lincoln Avenue picked out mittens and slippers, choosing from an array of pinks, blues, purples, yellows, greens, oranges and many other colors. Vladimir Olson chose yellow mittens to match his yellow fleece pull-over his favorite color. Stevie Hartwell put her pink-and-brown mittens and pink-and-black slippers away in her cubby for safe keeping. Some students tried on their new slippers right away, laughing as they slid on the tiledThe children will take the mittens home with them but keep the s l ippe rs wi t h them at headstart to wear during the day ins tead of winter boots. The other children in the headstart programs and two area kindergarten classes also will receive mittens and slippers and some wi l l receive hats. Teachers will wrap them and send them home with students the last day b e fo re Chr i s tma s vacation. Saturday, children at the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen will receive mittens and hats. Many volunteers with the Ret ired Senior Volunteers Program spent approximately 1,760 hours over the past year making hats, mittens and slippers for children. For more than 20 years, children in the community have received the brightly colored gi f t s, the volunteer group's director Alison Hecker said. It started before she came on board. “I think that possibly they just saw a need,” she said. That need is even greater now, she said, prompting the volunteers to begin a new project of knitting 20 afghans which will be given to women at the local abuse shelter. Margaret Gill knits throughout the year. “Mostly in the evening when I'm watching TV,” she said. She's been knitting for a long time, and now that she's retired, “it gives me something to do,” she said. It also helps the North Central Senior Citizens Center with inkind volunteer hours. “I just like doing it,” she said. Marian Buell has been helping with the project since it started. She learned to crochet from her mother-in-law after she was first married, and now she uses that skill to keep children warm. “I figured those poor little kids needed some warm mi t tens,” she said. Besides, she can't spend all her free time watching TV, she said. She works on the mittens year-round. “If there isn't anything else to do, well, then I do this, especially in the evenings when there's nothing to do,” she said. “I'm just happy to do it and to give my time to those kids so they get something warm to wear. “They seem to have so much fun when they get thes e


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