It was approaching mid-January, 2020, and Laurie Gordon of Stillwater, NJ, still didn’t have a New Years’ resolution. This year she wanted to do something different and impactful. For Christmas, 2019, she’d knitted family and friends hats and scarves as gifts, “Why not knit them throughout the year for a charity that could really use them?” she thought. After much consideration, she decided that her donation would go to a non-profit that is very near and dear to her mother’s heart: Lunch Break of Monmouth County. Gordon set a goal of knitting 50 hats and scarves to donate at the New Year and last week, proudly delivered them to her mom, Trudy Parton, who is a member of the Lunch Break Board of Trustees and volunteers extensively for the organization.
“I started knitting the hats while waiting for my daughter to be done with basketball practice, before her games started and during halftime last January,” Gordon said. “I never expected my knitting to become such a conversation piece as so many people came up to me throughout the year to ask what I was making. Also, when I started, we had no idea about the pandemic and quarantine. During times of isolation with my family, it gave me great purpose and hope for a better 2021, when this project would be complete.”
Lunch Break freely provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond.
“The organization strives to provide for community members in need, as well as services to help people help themselves” Parton said. “As Lunch Break’s motto says, ‘Help for today, hope for tomorrow.’ ”
With COVID-19 and the loss of jobs, Lunch Break has seen a surge in need over the past year. Food is essential and hats and scarves can help.
“With the restrictions, we both deliver requested items to people and have days when we spread out clothing and goods on outdoor tables and racks for people to come and select,” Parton said. “We also have grab-and-go meals and groceries people can pick up.”
She and her husband, Charlie, who live in Little Silver, NJ, have helped with all of these initiatives. The couple also makes a weekly food delivery to Lunch Break clients. Of course, COVID protocols always are in place.
“I’m so impressed that my daughter set and completed this goal for the agency I so support,” Parton said. “Even in the middle of the hot summer, she was knitting.”
Gordon is a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. Herself a former nationally ranked distance runner and U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, she also coaches kids and teens to improve their running.
“When they held the 2020 U.S. Marathon Trials during this year, I was very taken with the top U.S. Qualifier, a woman named Aliphine Tuliamuk,” Gordon said. “The reason was, at the podium, she was wearing a red, white and blue hat akin to the ones I make. I researched her and it turns out she sold hats on ETSY to make extra money while training. I reached out to her and we became friends. It was such an amazing double connection as runners and knitters.”
Gordon consequently included several red, white and blue hats in the collection she donated.
“I’m extremely proud of the way my mom has helped Lunch Break by donating so much time and effort to this vital organization,” Gordon said. “It was a no-brainer that this donation would go to something about which she is so passionate.”
Thank you to Laurie Gordon for submitting this wonderful story!
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