In the heat of the summer, Linda Tuller was thinking ahead to the frigid cold of winter.
More than merely thinking about winter, the 68-year-old Tuller was doing something about it — knitting about 50 colorful caps and hats to keep teens at a local middle school warm, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The finished products were distributed in mid-November to students at Topeka’s Robinson Middle School.
Tuller, who retired the first of July, has volunteered for several years as a Junior Achievement leader at Robinson.
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During her time there, she said, she “really became aware of some of the students who had holes in their shoes and who were wearing coats that were too small for them, or too shabby to be of much use in the winter.”
Tuller’s knitting projects were done in conjunction with a coordinated effort by members of four midtown congregations: Potwin Presbyterian Church, where she attends; West Side Baptist Church; Central Congregational United Church of Christ; and West Side Christian-Disciples of Christ Church.
Members of the four churches have collaborated for the past few years on projects that assist students at both Meadows Elementary School and Robinson Middle School.
School supplies and backpacks are collected, then distributed, before school starts in August. Then, in the winter, church members work on projects called “Mittens for Meadows” and “Wraps for Robinson.”
Tuller makes it clear she is only one person among the many volunteers who give of their time, energy and talents to help with the projects.
“When the four churches band together,” she said, “we are able to see a lot more results from our efforts, and that’s a real motivation.”
Tuller said the projects make it possible for church members to live out their faith in a way that benefits individuals in need in the Topeka community.
“There’s lots of scripture about Jesus’ response to children,” Tuller said. “I guess the one thing that pushes me is the idea that ‘to whom much has been given, much will be required.’
“I think we have gifts that we are to share, even if it’s something as small as taking a piece of yarn and turning it into a hat. If we give it away, we’re doing a good thing.”
Tuller knits and crochets nearly year-round. When she isn’t knitting products for Robinson students, she is working on baby-related items for a pantry at West Side Baptist Church. To date, she has knitted about 300 baby blankets.
“I found out that many of the agencies in town send people with newborn needs to West Side Baptist,” Tuller said. “Their closet has really been the place to refer people to.”