By BRIAN SMITH
Many happy hands make light work.
That is the mindset behind Happy Hats, a Weatherford organization that continues to grow and prosper. The organization, a ministry of Northside Baptist Church, has more than 60 members but is in need of more.
Happy Hats began in January 2010 as a simple way to welcome a newborn into the world. One of the founders, Shirley McCrory, had a daughter that had a baby. She was given a new crocheted baby hat. The daughter, Jennifer, told Shirley that she needed to get involved with a program like this. The organization Happy Hats came out of the conversation.
Judy Myers remembers the first meeting.
“It was five women who met at a friend’s house,” Myers said. “We just started making hats for the hospital and it has just bloomed and blossomed.”
Each hat comes with an attached card from the church with the name of the person that made it to add a more personal touch to each one.
The original idea was to make hats for the babies at both Weatherford Regional Medical Center and Palo Pinto General Hospital. Happy Hats has grown through the years, delivering hats to Seguin Elementary (the school NSBC has partnered with), A Place for Grace and Freedom House.
In May of 2011, Happy Hats partnered with Operation Shower to make red, white and blue hats for military families at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. These hats are given to the military families by Operation Shower when they host the showers. A request for 250 hats was made in 2011 but Happy Hats exceeded that request and sent a total of 270 hats. Last month alone, 100 newborn and 16 premie hats were given to the facility, which is expecting 500 hats from Happy Hats in 2013.
A partnership with Cook Children’s Hospital gives hats to both neo-natal intensive care patients as well as patients undergoing cancer. During the 2012 calendar year, Happy Hats made 2,335 people, including adults undergoing cancer treatments, happy with new hats. The organization now works with the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and Texas Oncology not only in Weatherford but with their locations outside the city.
Brenda Marshall has seen the impact the hats have had. Marshall, with Flower the Clown Ministry, asked for 170 hats to take with her on a January missionary trip to India. She went to a children’s home and was just amazed with how excited the hats made all the children.
“In the cooler months the temperatures get up to upper 80s and lower 90s, but the kids still liked those hats,” Marshall, who spoke at Monday’s meeting, said. “I just wanted you to know what an impact your group is making.”
The ministry is open to anyone of any age or denomination willing to give making someone’s life a little nicer a try. Sue Shaw knows all about it, admitting she wasn’t into crafts when she decided to give it a try.
“I didn’t know how to crochet or anything, but God showed me how to do it,” Shaw said, adding that God made all these hats. “It’s just wonderful to know you can bring a smile to a little child’s face.”
Shaw says that God has made more than 1,100 hats with her hands. Her daughter makes them along with her granddaughters as well.
Training for anyone willing to take part is provided, whether by knitting, crocheting or using a loom. Jacquie King says she enjoys working with her hands and has been part of the group for about a month.
“It gives me something to do while I’m watching TV in the evening,” King said.
For those that can’t donate the time to make hats, yarn donations are always accepted, providing the yarn is new, McCrory said.