Quilters share their time, talent

Afghans for Warren Family Mission

Participants in the Warren Pat Catan's Warm Up America Campaign. Pictured sitting, left to right: Catherine DiRubba, Carol Hoffman, Phyllis Flask. Pictured standing, left to right: Sue Schnur, Dominic Mararri, Marie Merlo, Charles Dodge, Carol Ayres, Karie Doan, Karen Sullivan, Kathy Reckner, Linda Hepler, Rose Batson. Participants not pictured: Donna Perry, Christy Betts, Carolyn Marsh, Becky Thomas, Marty Bowser, Debbie King, Dorothy Doan, Betty Jo Nutter, Cheryl Canter.

WARREN — Pat Catan’s in Warren donated 200 afghans created through the time, effort and donations of community members to the Warren Family Mission on Saturday.

“(The afghans) are just such a blessing to people who are down and out,” said Dominic Mararri, the director of public relations for the Warren Family Mission. “Sometimes we take the little things like that for granted, but when you are homeless, and you don’t have a place to call your own, just a gift like that is such a significant thing, especially in making them feel welcomed, feel valued and encourages them to get back on their feet again.”

The afghans will be divided between the Mission’s men’s home, women’s home and women and children’s home to be passed out to those who come to stay there.

“This is a gift that will keep on giving,” Mararri said.

The donation was part of Pat Catan’s 12th annual Warm Up America campaign, a six-week effort for community members to create and donate afghans to local charities held at Pat Catans’ stores in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Last year’s campaign received $30,874 in donations and 1,481 afghans made. Unofficial numbers from 2018’s campaign soared past last year’s, with $45,764 donated and 2,194 afghans made.

The Warren group of knitters and crocheters have been meeting to put together the squares used to create the afghans, with a joining party to finish the afghan on Feb. 3 and again Saturday.

“The group we have here, we all meet once a month throughout the year, not just during Warm Up America. Everything we get together to do is for the Warren Mission,” said Rose Batson, a Pat Catan employee and the organizer and member of the group for the past three years. “(I got involved because) I love to crochet, and this was a great reason to do it.”

“We had a few people who really didn’t know how to crochet. We all worked with them to get them going. We do what we can do,” Charles Dodge of Warren, another member of the group, said.

He said crocheting is a family tradition of sorts for him.

“My mother showed me how to do it, and I taught my first wife how to do it, taught my second wife how to do it. I taught my granddaughter how to crochet,” Dodge said. “Just trying to pass it on, even showed my second wife’s cousin.”

Mararri said he appreciated the group’s efforts.

“I used to crochet with my grandma when I was a kid,” Mararri said. “I know the amount of time and effort that takes, to see them think of other people and want to take on this project, to come here on a monthly basis, that takes a lot of sacrifice.”

Pat Catan’s campaign is a part of the Warm Up America organization, which was started in Wisconsin in 1991 and has grown to organize events and distribute afghans and other items to warms those in need around the world.