Knitters and crocheters are on my top picks for being among the most generous people in Maine. Now they have another opportunity to stitch for the common good of children in Central Maine Power Co.’s southern and central Maine service area as part of the company’s mitten drive.
“We love getting handmade mittens, hats and scarves — or purchased ones,” said Tammy Pierce, CMP project coordinator. “Last year we collected a total of 7,600 mittens, hats and scarves, and distributed 7,200.”
The program, she said, is in its ninth year, but had its beginnings in 1995 when CMP employees in the Portland area organized volunteers to knit and collect mittens to give to children in Portland. In 2004, the program expanded throughout the CMP service area and now covers 11,000 square miles in southern and central Maine. More than 400 schools request the warm garments through the program.
“We get tons of thank you notes every year,” Pierce said.
The letters from teachers frequently mention that there is a need for hats, mittens and scarves. Often, she said, individual children will decorate and send cards of thanks.
The popularity of the program garnered it the 2009 Augusta Spirit of America Award at a recognition ceremony at the Blaine House.
CMP partners with several entities to make the project run smoothly, Pierce said. WMTW Channel 8 provides public service announcements to inform the knitting and crocheting public — and those who wish to purchase and donate items — about the program.
Marden’s in Biddeford, Gray, Lewiston, Rumford, Sanford, Scarborough and Waterville; Renys in Bath, Belfast, Bridgton, Camden, Damariscotta, Farmington, Gardiner, Madison, Portland, Saco, Topsham and Wells; and Tim Hortons in Auburn, Augusta, Biddeford, Brunswick, Lewiston, Newport, Norway, Portland, Rockland, Scarborough, Skowhegan, South Portland, Topsham and Waterville have bins in their stores for the collection of mittens, hats and scarves.
The mitten drive will continue through the end of February.
To donate skeins of yarn for the project, mail them to: Tammy Pierce, 83 Edison Drive, Augusta 04436.
For information, visit cmpco.com, click on Giving Back, the Community, or call 623-3521.
To receive a copy of the pattern Classic Mittens and Gloves for the Entire Family — it’s my favorite — send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Ardeana Hamlin, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402.
Plan a special outing to a library or bookstore and look for titles with the word “mitten” in it.
The Pine Kneedlers Knitting Guild meets 6-8 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at Sunbury Village, 922 Ohio St. in Bangor. For information, visit pine-kneedlers.org.
Check the events page at bangordailynews.com for church fair listings where handmade mittens often can be found.
If you have a pair of vintage mittens passed down in the family, or mittens that your child once wore, consider framing them and giving them as a gift.
Hang a pair of vintage mittens on your Christmas tree to remind of the happy times of season’s past.
Go to ravelry.com and search for the free Mini Mittens pattern. Then knit yourself a merry little mitten garland Christmas.