AVONDALE—Children enrolled at Tick Tock Early Learning Center in Avondale will stay warm outdoors this winter, thanks to a community volunteer effort that involved 30,000 yards of yarn, producing more than 200 mittens and 100 hats, and 1,000 volunteer hours.

With a gesture that embodies the giving spirit of the season, Melinda Hardie brought the holidays to Tick Tock Early Learning Center a little early this year. Tick Tock provides education to economically disadvantaged families.

Last week, Hardie brought in 108 pairs of hand-knit mittens and hats - one set for each child at Tick Tock. The mitten and hat sets were carefully laid out for each child to pick their favorite. One by one they approached and excitedly chose the set that caught their eye.

Hardie, a retired engineer at DuPont and avid knitter, was inspired to make this happen when her friend and Tick Tock board member, Debbie Horak, mentioned to her that last year a group of knitters had made a sweater for each child in the center. Upon learning that there were about 100 children in the center, Harding paused and wondered how long it would take to knit sweaters.

She then did the math (10 hours of knitting per set), and counted the days until the holidays. What seemed a momentous task for one person became doable when 15 of Ms. Hardie’s friends stepped in to make her dream possible.

“Crafters are a pretty generous community," Hardie said. "We make with love in our hearts and are gratified by the appreciation of the gift recipients."

The appreciation in the eyes of dozens of children was apparent to Hardie.

“I cannot believe the joy it brought to many of them," she said. "It took their breath away and that in turn took mine.”

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