KnitTogether Club Gives Earnings to Village in Burma

Weave around each of the pegs attached to the hoop, intertwining soft yarn of different colors. Tie off and flip each bottom loop of yarn over the top one. Push the loops down and unhook the yarn. Begin again, knitting a hat that will raise money to save lives.

The KnitTogether Club, which currently meets every other Monday at lunch in room 503, is continuing to create hats which will be sold to raise money for a struggling school in Burma. The KnitTogether project was founded two years ago by junior Connor Lanman, currently club president, and his brother Max, Class of ‘06. The club began when members of the football team wanted to knit beanies, and Connor and Max realized that they could both have fun knitting and also benefit those who need help.

“Spending some of your time to help people in need is just a great feeling,” Connor said. “It’s not only a fun thing to do with your friends, but it’s fun to do something for a good cause and feel great about yourself after you knit a hat in only an hour and a half.”

The club originally sent money to the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina, but they found that half the money donated is used for Red Cross administrative operations and therefore does not reach the needy. As a result, they chose another location that they felt the club could benefit more directly.

Myanmar, a name given to Burma by the country’s militia, is a nation in which children have neither government support nor financial aid. There is a complicated array of political problems within the government, making it impossible for these struggling villages to receive any financial aid. Through a contact in Burma, the club chose a small village to donate to directly, and the villagers used the first donation to improve their school. According to Connor, the school was crudely built on a dirt floor with a corrugated metal roof, providing no relief from the heat. Over 65 children had to share a single book, but with the club’s donations, they were able to buy new books, desks and better facilities.

“A donation of just over $1,000 is like $50,000 to them, in terms of what the money could do to help,” Connor said.

In addition, the club also donated hats to Rotaplast International, a team of traveling plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Cebu City, Philippines. The surgeons distributed the hats among their patients, who were children suffering from birth defects such as cleft palate. Also, the club is working to teach kids undergoing chemotherapy in the Stanford Children’s Hospital to knit beanies of their own. This project will likely be the focus for second semester.

The club holds “knitting parties” twice a month, where members knit hats, both in school colors and also custom ones.

“We go to [Connor’s house] and we just sit and knit,” freshman Kelly Moulds said. “There’s pizza, people bake cookies and we talk with our friends.”

The club markets the beanies to students and parents at school events such as football games, Back to School Night and the Festival of Lights parade in downtown Los Altos. All of the money made is donated to charitable causes, currently the struggling school in Burma and second semester to the kids undergoing chemotherapy.

“It’s really fun because knitting hats is really easy to do,” Publicity Officer junior Erica Best said. “Anybody can join, and it would be great if we could have more people, because that means more hats, more money and more selling.”

The club expects to have fewer meetings since their primary fundraiser, the Festival of Lights Parade, has passed. But anyone interested in becoming involved with or donating to the KnitTogether Project should contact Connor for more information.