Hats for the Homeless

What started as a service project by the Omicron Delta (OD) Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society for Nursing, as Hats for the Homeless has now become a local project. By way of OD member Angie Strawn, RN, the organization’s mission – “to improve the health of all peoples everywhere” is being realized in our community.

Angie, also a Joshua’s House Volunteer Hospice supporter and community advisory committee member, had been involved in OD’s Project Linus effort for several years. The project collects homemade blankets and distributes them to a wide variety of children in need. As the organization was looking for another way to serve communities, Hats for the Homeless was born. In similarity to the Linus Project, Hats for the Homeless is an effort to make hats and distribute them to those within the homeless population. And though the original goal was to make and contribute hats to the 500 Hats project in Baltimore, Maryland, members like Angie were inspired to bring this to their individual communities and provide service at a local level.

Angie Strawn on Hats For the Homeless

The logistics of the project were what Angie needed help with. Though she’d already knitted 42 hats, she had to figure out a way that they could be distributed. Not long ago she was having lunch with our Executive Director, Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, and the project came up in discussion. Marlene suggested (and then arranged for) a meeting of Angie with Sister Libby Fernandez of the local nonprofit Mercy Pedalers, made up of bicyclers and tricyclers who reach out to homeless men & women on the streets of Sacramento. It seemed to Marlene that the two would be a perfect pairing, and after meeting Angie & Sister Libby were sure that together they could make it work!

Giving Out Hats to the Homeless
Homeless Hat Recipient
Homeless Hat Recipient

Angie immediately passed along 12 of the hats she’d made to Sister Libby. As you can see in the photos, when Mercy Pedalers delivered the hats they were received with much gratitude. Later, Angie delivered another 30 hats to Sister Libby’s office. Many of these hats (see photo example) were styled with a younger wearer in mind, which prompted Sister Libby to deliver them to the Mustard Seed School (operated by Loaves & Fishes in downtown Sacramento) that serves homeless children.  What a wonderful thing that all ages can benefit from these hats!

Currently, Angie and OD are working on a strategic plan to create a larger, national network for this program. Joshua’s House Volunteer Hospice is excited that we will also be a recipient of hats once our facility opens. And we so appreciate the efforts of Angie, OD members, and Sister Libby to bring this incredible program to our community. What a wonderful thing they are doing!

In the meantime, the hope is to continue to make and distribute hats. If you would like to donate hats, Angie will accept those that are knitted, crocheted, or made with “no sew” fleece (patterns can be provided). They should be machine washable and appeal to a variety of ages. Donations of yarn are also gladly accepted. Yarn should be of medium weight (“worsted” weight yarn, #4 is best). And if you have any questions, comments, or ideas for further outreach of the Hats project that you would like to share with Angie, please email her at: amstrawn@comcast.net