Sophomore’s Crafty Efforts Outfit an Entire Elementary School Against the Cold

When Erin Knipp ’16 decided to help the world, she thought local, but she thought big, too. 

The sophomore decided she would make mittens for cold hands at an elementary school near her home – all the cold hands. 

She enlisted friends and family to knit, crochet or stitch enough mittens for all the first- through fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School. She created a Facebook page – Cold Hands, Warm Hearts – as a way to recruit more help.

Knipp settled on the project while she was at home in Manitowoc for Christmas break last year. With plans to become a teacher herself, she knew that Jefferson Elementary, like many schools, needed assistance. Staff at the school routinely provide hats and gloves when they see students without them.

Nov. 11 – fifth day of the schoolchildren’s 21-day Gratitude Challenge – Knipp and friends delivered more than 200 items, reported The Manitowoc Herald. The school also received donations from Cornerstone Community Church and an anonymous Manitowoc donor. Each child was able to pick out an item, principal Barb Hooper told the Herald. “They came and delivered them ... and it was just box after box after box. We were just blown away, and (the mittens and hats) were just so beautiful.”

Each pair of mittens came with a felt heart sewn on, reported the paper: “ ‘It was just kind of a little signature for our organization reaching out to the people in the community,’ Knipp said.” 

Knipp says she can turn out a pair of mittens in an hour or two. She brought her project back to campus with her, where St. Norbert friends supported her effort through verbal support, prayers and encouragement. 

“I try to knit and crochet at school as often as I can,” Knipp says. “It helps relax me when I am stressed or overwhelmed. 

“It definitely becomes a hobby that allows me to connect with so many different people. I have started making scarves, mittens, socks and other accessories for my friends and peers on campus. I even connected with one of my professors [on] campus over this craft and we discuss different patterns and ideas almost every time we meet for class. It is a hobby I hope to take with me far into the future. It looks like the students enjoyed the mittens. I hope to work with Jefferson in the future and would love to spread this project to other organizations within the greater community.”


Dec. 3, 2013