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‘Granny’ meets ‘Traveler’

Scott Mason (front center; aka The Tarheel Traveler) joins with Rita New in holding a colorful lapghan created by the “Granny Squares of Love.” Others shown, from left, on the front row are Jen Meyers and Betty Jones; along with, back row from left, Glema Demario, Merindy Piland, Cassandra Daughtry, Kendra Evans, and Danny Bowman. Photo by Macaulay Chilaka Jr.

Scott Mason (front center; aka The Tarheel Traveler) joins with Rita New in holding a colorful lapghan created by the “Granny Squares of Love.” Others shown, from left, on the front row are Jen Meyers and Betty Jones; along with, back row from left, Glema Demario, Merindy Piland, Cassandra Daughtry, Kendra Evans, and Danny Bowman. Photo by Macaulay Chilaka Jr.

By BETTY JONES

Contributing Writer

LASKER – “Granny Squares of Love” has served the community for the past four years by crocheting blankets for newborns in need; blankets for those who are experiencing homelessness; lapghans for area nursing homes, and hat and scarf sets for the needy.

The organization also offers beginner crochet classes, at no cost, to those who are interested in learning the art form.

Recently, Rita New, the group’s founder, was visited by WRAL’s Scott Mason, better known as the “Tar Heel Traveler.” Mason became aware of Rita New at one of his book signings. His interest was piqued upon learning the organization “Granny Squares of Love” was created from a dream she had, one in which she saw women of compassion sitting together and crocheting “granny squares” to make blankets for those in need.

Johanna Collins (left) and Jen Meyers work to complete one of the many knitting projects performed by the “Granny Squares of Love.” Photo by Macaulay Chilaka Jr.

Johanna Collins (left) and Jen Meyers work to complete one of the many knitting projects performed by the “Granny Squares of Love.” Photo by Macaulay Chilaka Jr.

The name of the group was also spoken in the dream. It is the name the group uses to this day. Inspired by what she saw and heard in the dream “Granny Squares of Love” was born.

Since that dream, four years ago, the group adds the following to its list of accomplishments:

April 2011 – GSOL provided blankets to some who were left homeless when a rash of tornadoes tore through Bertie County.

October 2012 – GSOL sent blankets, hats and scarf sets up North to those who were left homeless by Hurricane Sandy.

Jan. 2013 – GSOL has donated over 100 baby blankets and beanies to first time mothers in need through the Nurse and Family Partnership based in Jackson, and also provided lapghans to a local nursing home. The group also donated 80-plus hat and scarf sets to be given to those in need on Christmas day in Ahoskie.

Jan. 2014 – GSOL became aware of the homeless problem in Ahoskie and provided emergency temporary shelter to the town’s most vulnerable citizens when temperatures dropped dangerously low. The group also helped to provide  food and some clothing items to those in need. In November, volunteers handed out blanket bundles to the homeless and others in need in Ahoskie.  GSOL also gave lapghans to a local nursing home.  Hat and scarf sets were once again given to those in need on Christmas day in Ahoskie and volunteers also provided dessert for a Christmas dinner hosted by a local church in Ahoskie.

Jan.2015 – GSOL has partnered with Open Arms Church to provide emergency temporary shelter a number of times again this year to the homeless. Volunteers continue to make baby blankets for newborns, hats, scarves, and blankets to help keep others warm.

“Granny Squares of Love” has grown from a single unit to three chapters strong. The group fluctuates between 25 and 30 local volunteers with many long distance volunteers all across the nation. The long distance volunteers mail baby blankets, beanies, scarves, granny squares, and yarn to help this area.  Local volunteers meet once a month at one of the following locations:

Jackson – The first Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. at the Northampton County Library, with meeting coordinators Rita New and Cassandra Daughtry.

Roanoke Rapids – The first Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at the Roanoke Rapids Library, with meeting coordinator Sherry Casey.

Ahoskie – The second Monday of every month, at 5:30 p.m. at Pizza Inn, with meeting coordinators Jen Meyers and Jenn Richmond.

Those wishing to join this group or gain additional information, call Rita New at 252-285-1859 or visit www.grannysol.wordpress.com/ or www.facebook.com/GrannySquaresofLove.

Tar Heel Traveler is in its eighth season, visiting all 100 North Carolina counties. It airs between 5 and 5:50 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays on WRAL TV 5. The feature on “Granny Squares of Love” is expected to air in approximately 30 days.