Residents of the Paul’s Run Community Service Club find purpose and joy in giving back to others. Completing several community outreach projects throughout the years, the group’s latest effort displays their unique talents while keeping sailors at sea warm this winter.

Knitting and crocheting winter caps for the Seafarer’s International Union, residents and Director of Spiritual Care at Paul’s Run, Pastor Julie Stumpf, were thrilled to begin this exciting new effort.  “The Community Service Club does different community outreach projects each month. Before COVID-19, we were making sandwiches for the homeless. When the pandemic began we were challenged to find projects that we could participate in safely,” Pastor Julie says.

Getting Creative Through COVID-19: The Community Service Club Continues to Give Back

The Paul’s Run Community Service Club makes sandwiches for the homeless. This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finding new and creative ways to serve their local community while ensuring residents’ safety, Pastor Julie searched for suitable alternatives. “I was looking for something that residents could do in small groups or in their own apartments,” she explains. Amidst her search, the Community Service Club was awarded a generous grant that would allow the group to continue pursuing benevolent causes amidst COVID-19. “This grant came from a couple who had previously lived at Paul’s Run and they were dedicated to ministry and community service for the majority of their lives,” Pastor Julie says.

As the grant was received from a former Paul’s Run resident who served in the U.S. Navy, Pastor Julie looked for a project that could honor his service. “I thought to myself, what better than the Seafarer’s Union? So, I went to their website and spoke with them about their needs. One of them was winter caps for the sailors. It worked out perfectly,” she explains.

A Hobby with a Cause

With a group of individuals who love to crochet and knit, this project was a wonderful way to engage residents in their interests while giving back to the greater community.

Pastor Julie provides spiritual care to residents at Paul’s Run. All photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect life in our communities.

Giving back is such a huge part of residents’ well-being. Especially amidst COVID-19, it makes them feel good to know that they are contributing to something larger than themselves.

Grateful for their recent grant, Pastor Julie was able to purchase yarn for this meaningful project. “I bought the yarn and printed out the pattern instructions and some residents knitted together safely in small groups while others chose to work on the project in their own apartments,” Julie says. Lifting residents’ spirits by serving their community, for Paul’s Run resident, Valerie Lopez, this project took on a very special meaning.

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Having moved to Paul’s Run over five years ago, when Valerie heard about the Community Service Club, she knew it was the perfect way to get involved. “I’m the youngest of 12 siblings so I’ve been doing things for others my whole life, and I’ve always been good at keeping myself busy,” she admits. Valerie learned to knit when she was just a child and she’s kept up with the hobby ever since.

“When Pastor Julie told me about the knitting project for sailors I thought, well this is the best way for me to give back,” she reflects. Valerie knitted an astounding 40 winter caps for the sailors at sea and hopes her efforts will bring them comfort this season.

Valerie (right) sits alongside Executive Director of Paul’s Run, Bill Hines.

The sailors must be freezing out there in the winter. I hope that the caps we knitted keep them warm. Having knitted my whole life, I’m giving back to them the only way I know how.

Resident of Paul’s Run, Valerie L.

Knitting and crocheting 60 caps for members of the Union, the Paul’s Run Community Service Club’s efforts were a tremendous success. “I’ll be going to the port in Philadelphia and giving the caps to the Port Chaplain who will then give them to the sailors,” Pastor Julie explains.

With a touch of kindness in every stitch, the Paul’s Run Community Service Club is happy to keep sailors at sea warm this winter. Looking forward to future projects, residents of the club continue to experience fulfillment and joy by giving back to their community.

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