Two employees of UCLA’s Respiratory Therapy Department crocheted more than 20 stocking caps that they and other staffers plan to give away at the department’s annual “Picnic With Friends” holiday event at Palisades Park in Santa Monica on Wednesday.
For the past several years, the respiratory therapy department has hosted a holiday picnic to give needy men, women and children food, warm clothing and blankets.
Last year, employees gave away about 100 homemade turkey and ham sandwiches, about 100 blankets and dozens of gloves, socks and caps. This year, they gave away a similar number of items, plus a supply of homemade hats.
“It’s one way of helping people get warm and get some food in their bellies, even if it’s just for one day,” says Jeffrey Davis, director of Respiratory Therapy at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “It’s our way of giving back to the less fortunate in our community.”
The picnic started at 8 am and ended a few hours later when supplies ran out. Last year, the staff pooled together money on the spot to purchase toys for a young girl and her mother who had been living on the streets for two weeks. They also provided healthcare referrals to a man with a leg infection.
Employees in the UCLA respiratory therapy departments in Santa Monica and Westwood raise money, purchase supplies, collect donations and crochet or knit items for the event.
Respiratory therapist Jocelyn Te and administrative assistant Michelle Jones started crocheting hats for the event nearly a year ago and have been updating co-workers on their progress ever since.
“They both love to crochet and wanted to make something useful,” Davis says. “They’ve been working on these hats all year and are looking forward to giving people something handmade that will also keep their ears and heads warm in the winter.”