Graduate student Diana Chia wanted to help the homeless of Baltimore through the cold winter nights, a desire reinforced when she volunteered for the city’s annual homeless Point-In-Time Count during two Code Blue nights—evenings declared too cold to spend outdoors by the Health Department. An idea came to her through knitting, a hobby originally taught to Chia by her grandmother and reintroduced in the past year by some crafty friends: hats. Through her project Knitting Neighbors Together, Chia stitched together a community of like-minded folks from various Baltimore neighborhoods. She solicited donations through Kickstarter and gathered up to 30 people of “all types, men and women, all levels of ability” for her knitting events. Chia, on the family nurse practitioner track, even caught the attention of Baltimore’s ABC2 News, which in early February did an “In Focus” segment on her and the project. The first eight hats, the product of Chia’s initial knitting session, were distributed during the annual count. By February 14, she had exceeded her goal of 50 hats, and the group kept right on going, adding scarves and mittens distributed directly to individuals in need on additional Code Blue nights. “They pretty much go out of my hand as soon as I get them.” She sees the impact of her efforts on the streets when she recognizes a hat. “There’s something personal in knowing where each hat came from,” she told ABC2 News.
Her website: knittingneighborstogether.org