The Salvation Army and needy individuals are helped by skilled and loving hands in Atlanta
By: David Ibata
Rosie Brannon said she started the “Knit Wits” in 2006 at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, as a women’s Sunday school activity that wasn’t bridge – “because some of us didn’t play bridge, yet we liked to get together.”
The knitting and crocheting circle set out to produce hand-made goods for needy residents of the community. And Brannon knew the agency best suited to distribute the gifts.
“I was for many years active in The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary,” she said. “We thought the work of our knitters should go to the needs of the Army.”
Today, the Knit Wits – “Knitting Women Inspired to Serve” – are an integral part of the Presbyterian Women of Peachtree Presbyterian.
They’ve evolved into an ecumenical, service-oriented group made up of 28 volunteers mostly from the church and some from the Women’s Auxiliary and other congregations. About half are regular contributors, faithfully producing hundreds of hats, scarves, baby booties, shawls and blankets every year.
Among the group’s guidelines: Members do not need to attend meetings regularly to participate; instructions are available for learning to knit and crochet; help is offered to correct mistakes or solve knitting problems; and there’s a large supply of new and partial skeins of free yarn to use in gift-making.
“It’s a great organization,” said Karen Klett, major gifts manager for The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Command. “The ladies get together and do what they enjoy doing for something that’s worthwhile and very needed.”
The Knit Wits’ first output went to the Adult Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta. Over the years, items have gone to the William Booth Towers senior housing and Red Shield Harbor Light homeless shelter. Occasionally, a piece arrives so well made – notably, the baby blankets by member Teena Everhart – it’s selected for Metro Atlanta’s Christmas Angel Tree distribution.
The group created 315 knitted goods in 2019 and have given 4,344 items to date, mostly to The Salvation Army. Members work through the year. Every October, they have a gathering “where people who’ve been hanging on to pieces they’ve made bring them in,” Brannon said.
“We have a 98-year-old member, Penny Parker, who lives in a retirement home in Buckhead (in Atlanta) who will bring in 14, 15, maybe more, scarves. We’re especially proud of her because her main interest in life is dancing, and at her age, she’s still competing in dance contests around the country.”
Brannon, 93, retired two years ago as Knit Wits leader, handing the reins to the present co-leaders, Marianne Lassiter and Wendy Moore. New members are always welcome; interested persons can contact Brannon at [email protected] or 770-579-8557.
“God is the source of power that first inspired us,” Brannon said. “We feel that God led us to this service and has supported us in following the motto of The Salvation Army, ‘Doing the Most Good.’ While our history and continued service is interesting, the power supporting and inspiring us is of the greatest importance.”