Jackie Van Gilder, at age 90, is stepping down from her role as leader of the Vashon United Methodist Women’s Knit for Kids group. The group is looking for new members and a new leader (Courtesy Photo).

Jackie Van Gilder, at age 90, is stepping down from her role as leader of the Vashon United Methodist Women’s Knit for Kids group. The group is looking for new members and a new leader (Courtesy Photo).

Knitters’ Leader Steps Down, Can You Step in?

The future of the Knit for Kids group depends on finding a new leader.

  • Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:32pm
  • News

One stitch at a time, that’s all it takes, and soon, you’re knitting a sweater, or maybe a cap and mittens.

That is precisely how Jackie Van Gilder, with the organizational support of Miyoko Matsuda, started the Vashon United Methodist Women’s Knit for Kids group.

Knit for Kids is an outreach program of World Vision International. This relief organization organizes staff and volunteers to go to areas where floods, earthquakes and other disasters have recently occurred. Working with other relief agencies, World Vision distributes clothing, food and water, other needed supplies, and of course, children’s sweaters.

On Vashon for the past ten-plus years, island knitters have met on the second Tuesday of each month at the United Methodist Church, producing warm knitted items for children. The yarn has largely been donated by generous islanders. Since 2009, the group produced some 697 sweaters, blankets, hats and mittens, which Vashon United Methodist Women then shipped to World Vision International for the Knit for Kids Program.

For now, the knitting continues although the future of this local group depends on finding a new leader.

In November 2020, Van Gilder, at 90 years young, stepped down from chairing the organization during this challenging time. Tubs of yarn are still in storage, in need of willing hands to continue keeping needy kids warm.

Interested knitters of all skill levels (yes, we can teach you how to knit) can write to pastor@vashonmethodist.org, indicating that the email should go to the attention of Miyoko Matsuda. Interested knitters can also find patterns at knitforkids.org. Remember, one stitch at a time and soon, maybe you will be knitting something for somebody who needs something warm to wear.

— Carol Butler


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