Stitching with compassion: Yorker knits caps for soldiers

Bill Kalina
York Dispatch
Randy Grove uses a knitting loom to make a cap at his York City home Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. The retired botanist has donated hundreds of the hats and other knitted items to charitable causes. He knitted 500 hats for military troops stationed in Alaska and for the Lebanon VA Medical Center in 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Randy Grove thought learning to knit would be “something to pass the time,” but the hobby has turned into much more than that.

The retired botanist took classes at the White Rose Senior Center in 2017, and he’s been at it ever since.

Grove, a 1977 York Tech graduate, donates his loom-knitted wares to charity. Those include donations of ear warmers and soap sacks to people without homes, dish cloths for fundraisers and warm winter caps for school kids in need.

Randy Grove uses a knitting loom to make a cap at his York City home Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. The retired botanist has donated the hats and other knitted items to charitable causes. He knitted 500 hats for military troops stationed in Alaska and for the Lebanon VA Medical Center in 2020. Bill Kalina photo

With the help of local Elks Lodge No. 213, Grove shipped 300 of his hats to military personnel serving in Alaska and to the Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The hats were presented as Christmas gifts in 2020.

That earned him several letters of thanks from the recipients, a commendation from the Elks Club Veterans Service Committee, a donated box of yarn and a phone call from a grateful mother of a serviceman.

“I’m a giving person,” Grove said. “It’s just my nature.”

He said he can knit a cap and a half in a day.

Randy Grove tries on a cap he made on a knitting loom at his York City home Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. The retired botanist has donated hundreds of the hats and other knitted items to charitable causes. He knitted 500 hats for military troops stationed in Alaska and for the Lebanon VA Medical Center in 2020. Bill Kalina photo

"It's a mission," Grove said of his charitable knitting. "As long as I have breath and yarn, I'll keep doing it."

Grove is in constant need of No. 4 or No. 5 weight yarn. Anyone wishing to contribute can donate at Asbury United Methodist Church, 240 E. Market St. in York City, or the South Central York County Senior Center, 150 E. Main St, in New Freedom.