Church volunteer spends nearly 800 hours crocheting hats by hand to keep Denver’s needy warm

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DENVER -- When Ginger Lewis has a few minutes to spare, she almost always has a skein of yarn and a hook in her hands.

“It’s hard for me to stand up, but I can sit and crotchet by darn it,” she said.

Her passion for crochet began as a teenager. And now she is using her talent to help keep those in need around Denver warm.

Last year, she made 350 winter hats by hand and so far, this season, she is up to about 40.

“There’s just so many people that need help. It’s no secret about our homeless situation in Denver and I see people all the time cold,” Lewis said.

As a member of the Outreach team for South Broadway Christian Church in Denver, Lewis began hanging her hats on the fence outside the church.

“Our location here, a lot of people walk by,” she said.

The hats, along with matching fleece scarves, are free to anyone who wants or needs them. No questions asked.

“We’ve already put out about, I’d say 150 hats and scarves already,” Lewis said.

And this week, with several inches of snow and single-digit temperatures, Lewis restocked the fence so there would be plenty of hats and scarves to keep everyone warm.

“I do watch the weather and I knew this week was going to be bad so that’s why I put out more than usual hoping it would hold through a couple days,” she said.

Sometimes they go quickly. Other times they stay on the fence for a few days. But eventually, all of the cold weather gear gets taken.

“And sometimes people actually get tears in their eyes when they take them,” she said. “And there’s been some that we’ll tell them they can take a hat and a scarf. That’s why they’re there.

"And they’ll say oh, well I don’t want to be selfish. And we’ll have to tell them, no they’re for you. You can take whatever you want. Whatever you need. And it makes me feel great.”

Lewis said she is having trouble keeping up with making all of the hats she needs to make. Her goal is to complete 365, one for each day of the year.

“I’m starting to get arthritis in my hands. They don’t always want to work. So people are praying for my hands,” she said.

South Broadway Christian Church is willing to accept donations of hats, gloves and scarves to help stock its Fence Ministry.

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