Chicks With Sticks Warm Hands, Hearts of Macomb Homeless, Sick
Now 40 members and three years strong, Macomb Township's knit and crochet group is making a difference in the community one handmade scarf and hat at a time.
By following her heart and her hobby, Carol Milkowski has found volunteer nirvana.
Three years ago the lifelong crafter visited Macomb Township’s Marvin Blank Senior Center in the hope of finding a group with which to share her love of knitting and crocheting. Finding prospective members, but no group, Milkowski started Chicks with Sticks, and found herself building friendships and a community resource in the process.
Now some 40 members strong, the group uses its talents with needle and yarn to warm the hearts of the homeless, sick and in-need throughout the community by donating hundreds of homemade items to charities and hospitals each year.
“I can’t tell you how I feel,” Milkowski, 70, said of her group. “It really overwhelms me. I have a wonderful group of ladies and they are there every time you need them. They never say no they’re too busy. They are always right there giving, and it warms your heart to know you’re doing that much good for someone who needs it.”
With varying skill levels among members, knitted items range from simple blankets and scarves to more complex mittens, sweaters and hats for all ages, including premature infants.
Although always open to supporting new charities, Milkowski said the group currently donates the majority of its items to the local Macomb Charitable Foundation, cancer ward at St. John Medical Center (Macomb) and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
“It’s a really great thing they’re doing,” said Julie Standlick, MCF board member. “This year we got huge donations from them–some were even blankets for the babies. A lot of our families are homeless and these free gifts are really the answer to a prayer for us. Out of the goodness of their heart, they donate it all for free.”
The group’s volunteer work was what led Penny Pagel to join Chicks with Sticks more than a year ago.
“Being retired, I have too many empty hours and I decided to fill them with something worthwhile,” Pagel said. “I think it is a worthwhile project (Chicks) has going for them, donating to the hospital, the schools and the families who need help during this economic crisis.”
And so long as that need remains, and there are skilled hands to meet it, Milkowski said her name will remain atop the Chicks’ member roster.
“I wouldn’t do anything else,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing and I wanted to share what I knew about it. It’s gone gung ho and there are always people wanting to be a part of it. It touches me and as long as they’ll have me, I’ll be there.”
As there is no membership fee or other financial support for the group, the Chicks rely solely on donations of yarn for their items. Yarn donations of every color and length can be made at the senior center or Macomb Township Recreation Center.
Those interested in joining Chicks with Sticks can call 586-992-2900, or drop by one of the group's Thursday 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. sessions at the senior center.