GVSU Stitchcraft club participates in Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign for American Heart Month

By Megan Webster | 2/5/17 9:01pm

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GVL / Courtesy - American Heart Association Promotional image for the American Heart Assocation's "Little Hats, Big Hearts" program. The GVSU Stitchcraft club plans to participate in the program this year.

by American Heart Association / Grand Valley Lanthorn

In honor of American Heart Month this February, the Stitchcraft club at Grand Valley State University is participating in the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign to bring awareness to heart disease and congenital heart defects.

For this program, volunteers knit little red hats for newborn babies born in February at participating hospitals in order to honor moms, their babies and heart-healthy lives. Started three years ago in Chicago, the project has now spread to forty states, and 5,000 hats will be delivered throughout Michigan this year alone.

Cindy Bouma, the communications director for the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate, said the program took off quickly when it was first introduced.

“I was really worried when we first started,” Bouma said. “We were very fortunate because it really got a lot of pickup on social media. After that point, we starting having people not only locally, but throughout the U.S. and overseas locations, deliver hats to us. We were getting them by the thousands.”

After they’re knitted, the little red hats are washed and either delivered by mail or in person to participating hospitals. Along with the hats, the moms receive introductory information on the program, along with health information for the baby and mother. This information provides new moms with the resources they need to promote heart health in their families.

The Center for Disease Control reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In response to this, volunteers from across the country are participating in the Little Hats, Big Hearts program.

“This is about the information we give to the babies, but it’s also the people that want to donate to the mission of the American Heart Association, but maybe they’re not going to go to a ticketed event,” Bouma said. “This is a way that they can participate.”

The members of the GVSU Stitchcraft club are actively participating in the campaign this year by knitting hats. Founded two years ago, the Stitchcraft club is dedicated to crafting of all kinds. Not only do the members craft for their own purposes, but they also try to contribute to a couple of philanthropies.

Carson Garety, the founder of Stitchcraft, said she discovered the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign purely by accident but was on board with making the hats as soon as she learned the program’s details.

“I was scrolling through my Facebook and saw an article about it,” Garety said. “I clicked on it and realized that the design was relatively simple for making the hats and that there was, conveniently enough, a location in Grand Rapids that we could donate them to.”

The club members are using their own supplies to knit the hats, and once they have completed a sizable amount, they will send them to the Grand Rapids branch of Little Hats, Big Hearts in order to contribute to the cause.

Garety said anyone interested in getting involved with Little Hats, Big Hearts is welcome to attend a Stitchcraft meeting, even if they don’t know how to knit or crochet.

“If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, you can come to Stitchcraft and learn,” she said. “We can teach you how to make (the hats).”

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