DeKalb grandmother crochets 440 scarves for Jefferson Elementary School

November 26, 2018

DeKALB – As the temperature gets colder and winter arrives, a Good Samaritan might donate a hat or a pair of mittens to keep a child warm.

Grandmother Deena Kerwin of DeKalb crocheted 440 scarves for all of the students, staff and faculty at Jefferson Elementary School in DeKalb, making sure everyone at the school keeps warm as the temperature drops.

The scarves vary in color, length and width depending on the age of the recipients. Each scarf took between an hour and a half and two hours to crochet.

Kerwin said she doesn’t know why she crocheted so many scarves, just that she didn’t want children to be cold.

“I just started thinking of kids who didn’t have a scarf, that they would be cold this winter,” Kerwin said. “I remember that as a single parent, I couldn’t afford to just purchase things from a store. I wanted to help others in some way, just a little.”

Last year, Kerwin made scarves for her daughter, teacher Kate Farris, to give to the students in her third-grade classroom. This January, Kerwin made enough for this year’s students, but then she started thinking of others who might need a scarf.

“Everyone loved the scarves and wanted one, including other teachers, secretaries and even janitors,” Kerwin said. “I started thinking of the other students, the other children. It was a big task, 440 scarves, but I thought, ‘Why not?’”

Farris said that her mother’s scarves are treasured by everyone that receives them. Each child was able to choose their scarf, selecting their favorite colors and color patterns. No two scarves were the same.

“Both kids and adults love them; it’s not every day you’re gifted with a handmade, crocheted scarf,” Farris said. “With everyone receiving a scarf, nobody stands out. Nobody feels different. They feel like they’re all part of something, all one family. It also takes the pressure off of kids who could not afford one and really need it.”

Kerwin said she doesn’t know if she will make 440 scarves again next year, but that she will continue to help – and crochet – as long as she is able to.

“Doing things for people doesn’t have to cost a lot, just a little bit of time,” Kerwin said. “You can do simple things, whether it’s raking leaves, shoveling snow or crocheting scarves. You can reach others and help in a small way. ... Homemade gifts mean so much more. Bake a pie, crochet a scarf. Giving a gift has nothing to do with the cost and everything to do with the meaning and thought behind it.”

Kerwin’s granddaughter, Caroline Farris, describes her grandmother’s gift of 440 scarves as “absolutely amazing.” Caroline Farris said she hopes she can one day be as charitable and good-hearted as her grandmother.

“I’ll never forget going with her endless times to pick out the yarn and see what we could find,” Farris said. “It’s something I know many people will cherish forever.”

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