CCI inmates are knitting caps and lap blankets for cancer treatment patients distributed by Southern Ohio Survivors
Last week, collection boxes were placed at several businesses for a Southern Ohio Survivors Yarn Drive. The donated skeins of yarn are made into knitted caps and lap blankets by inmates at Chillicothe Correction Institute which are in turn given to Southern Ohio Survivors and distributed to cancer survivors.
CCI Social Worker Todd Helmick says 40 inmates are providing the manpower to knit the caps and blankets, but need the yarn to get the job done. Helmick adds the project has been quite therapeutic for the inmates. "They want to feel like being a part of the community. And it's difficult with them being incarcerated, so any way they can give back is meaningful to them. I get messages all the time from them saying 'I want to feel like I'm doing something with my time, I want to give back."
Lynn Bunstine of S.O.S., a cancer survivor herself says "One of the nicest things that I was given when I lost my hair, were very soft caps. When Todd started this project, it was something that just so hit home, that it's one area we (S.O.S.) really need to concentrate on. You're cold at night, no matter what the weather is. It just feels good when you don't have hair to have something on your head."
Helmick says many people on the outside are impressed with the end product. "They can't believe they (inmates) can crochet... I look at some of the work and think 'Wow,this is really good stuff'. They spend hours on their cots just keeping busy. They'll stitch their hats and the next day show up wanting to do some more."
According Bunstine, a lap blanket or cap is comforting to survivors. "When you're in treatment, to have a little lap blanket to put on your lap whether you're a man or a woman, it's just priceless. Because of the Correctional Institute and Todd with his wonderful program, we're going to be able to make a difference in many live over Southern Ohio."
Helmick says the inmates are anxious to help, they just need the materials. "The manpower is there, we can work all day long, we just need the resources."
Collection boxes for your yarn donations can be found at several locations around Chilllicothe (see list below). Bunstine says other businesses would like to get on board, visit the S.O.S. website at www.southernohiosurvivors.org.
Coffee Central (Central Center)
She Said YesI Bridal & Formal, 91 N. Paint St.
Ross County Y, near Yoctangee Park
All Ross County Valero Gas Stations
Southern Ohio Survivors Office, 32 S. Paint St.
Clear Channel Chillicothe Studios, 45 W. Main St.
Click Here to hear the interview with Bunstine & Helmick