So many ways to make a difference

Bee Swol may be 96, and currently recovering from a broken hip, but she is a busy gal nonetheless.  Bee is busy crocheting heavy afghans to keep children warm in winter!

Blanket quilt with square patterns

Bee Swol, 96, keeps busy all year long crocheting afghans for children for Christmas.

Swol's daughter, Cynthia Swol, visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry one recent cold Saturday morning, lugging huge bags stuffed with afghans.  She came bearing Bee's gift for each child, who passed through.  Bee had been crocheting these wraps all year to give away now.

According to her daughter, the Swols had lived in Connecticut for many years and “sitting around crocheting is what people do in New England,” she says.  “We keep our hands busy.”

And so, Bee has been crocheting for decades.  Once, when she and Cynthia lived in the Florida Keys, they adopted a classroom and provided a afghan for each child for those days when temperatures took a dive.  Many children, who live in what are primarily tropical climates, don't always have suitable clothing for the winter, and these afghans were a blessing.

“The children were thrilled getting these gifts today,” says Anita Bullaro, who is co-director of the Pantry with her husband Tom.  “Many kids opened the afghans and wrapped themselves in it immediately!  And the afghans are large — about 36- to 40-inches square — and beautiful!  Some are multicolored, with all the colors of the rainbow.  Others are artistically designed with three or four complementary colors.

“People just keep coming and coming into the Pantry to do very kind things for us and our families,” says Bullaro, overwhelmed by Bee's kindness today.

Currently, we might imagine Bee beginning a new batch of afghans, mostly while watching the University of Connecticut Women's basketball, which is her passion, Cynthia says.  “Mom likes to focus on the positive.”