About 300 children at Head Start received brand new mittens and gloves on Tuesday.
The children received the hand-woven garments from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Billings.
“The women all knit hats and mittens year-round so they can get enough for all the children,” said Tera DeBolt, the volunteer coordinator at Head Start.
Head Start is a pre-kindergarten program that prepares youth from low-income families for success in elementary school.
“Some of the children don’t always come with hats and mittens,” DeBolt said.
RSVP makes each child a matching pair that they leave at school so they always have something to wear when they go outside, she said.
“They get to pick out the pair that they can have,” she said. “It’s sometimes the first new pair for them.”
Last year, the mittens and hats made for students in Billings were sent to Head Start students in New York who had been displaced by Superstorm Sandy. The children made cards to send with the warm clothes.
Trinity Cotter, 5, eagerly searched the table covered with mittens and matching hats. She looked at an orange pair, “No, I don’t like it,” she said.
After scrutinizing several other pairs, she settled on pink mittens and a matching hat. “Ooh, I’m going to do that one,” she said as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“We’ve been busy with a lot of sweet little kids,” said Marie Reamy, an RSVP volunteer who was busy helping children pick out the perfect pair.
Reamy has been knitting for the event for many years. “Every night I knit for five hours after dinner,” she said. “I do it 365 days a year.”
More than a dozen RSVP volunteers work to make enough hats and mittens for the Head Start children.
They also make some for children at several local elementary schools and young residents of the Montana Rescue Mission’s Women and Family shelter.
“It’s all about the kids,” Reamy said.