If you ever come across Jeannie Waltz, chances are she has a pair of knitting needles in hand and is hard at work crafting a scarf for a member of the Silicon Valley homeless community. A resident of BridgePoint at Los Altos senior living community, Jeannie spends her free time knitting scarves for the homeless and creates at least one a day. This year, Jeannie has knitted 216 scarves and is well on her way to surpassing the 230 scarves she made in 2017. A lifelong volunteer, Jeannie began her efforts through her local church, Union Presbyterian Church, as a member of the church’s craft group, the Uplifters. Jeannie and her fellow Uplifters work with CityTeam San Jose to distribute her scarves and various other items to those in need. From a young age Jeannie learned the importance of sharing one’s blessings and believes in giving back to those in need. Having always knitted in her spare time for her family and friends, this is an excellent way to use her talents to benefit others.
“When I heard about the need for scarves in the local community, it seemed like a natural fit for me,” said Jeannie. “It broke my heart to think there are women out there raising their children under an overpass. I just couldn’t stand it, and I immediately wanted to help. It uplifts me to see how I can positively impact others, even in such a small capacity. I have been blessed at every stage of life and this is the least I can do to share to blessings that I have received.”
While Jeannie regularly knits with her church group, she primarily works in her apartment at BridgePoint at Los Altos, and she can be seen carrying her materials with her almost everywhere she goes. Jeannie can often be found in quiet spots at the senior living community working on her scarves while visiting with fellow residents and associates. According to Jeannie, everyone at the community supports her efforts, and she often receives yarn donations from neighbors and friends. As she works, Jeannie doesn’t follow a pattern for her scarves. She simply uses up each skein of yarn until its gone and then attaches another color. Her method results in a rainbow of colors, giving each a one-of-a-kind look. Her scarves are six-inches wide by 52-inches long to give the wearer enough material to wrap around themselves to keep warm no matter their size. Each scarf is handmade with love for the wearer, and Jeannie hopes each recipient feels that someone cares for them when they wear their scarf.
“We are incredibly proud of Jeannie and humbled by her efforts to better the lives of others,” said Sondra Brakeville, executive director of BridgePoint at Los Altos. “At BridgePoint at Los Altos, we believe in the importance of giving back to the greater community and doing our part to make the world a better place. We are encouraged by the dedication of our residents, like Jeannie Waltz, and hope that by sharing her story it will inspire others to discover new ways to give back.