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Offering Warmth and Support to Veterans

Alix Williams, on the left, holds a basket filled with some of the scarves knitted by members of the Unitarian Congregation of Mendon and Uxbridge for homeless veterans. Audrey Gillum, on the right, brought the idea to the congregation. Contributed photo

Early this fall a member of the Unitarian Congregation of Mendon and Uxbridge, Audrey Gillum, shared that she had participated in a program to knit scarves for homeless veterans and a number of members of the congregation wanted to begin a project in the Church. By Christmas large basket full was filled and Alix Williams offered to take them to Veterans Inc. in Worcester. She wrote of her experience bringing the items to the program's outreach center on Grove St. in Worcester on Christmas day.

"As I was waiting to hand off the basket at the donation center, one veteran walked up to me and wished me a Merry Christmas. With a smile I returned the greeting, 'Merry Christmas to you too,' I said. I expected him to walk away after that, as everyone else who had greeted me the same way had done since I arrived," she wrote. "But he stuck around a minute longer, looking into my basket. I'll admit it felt a little out of place to be giving such warm, cozy items on a day like that – I wasn't even wearing a jacket! Much to my surprise, the young veteran exclaimed, "Are those scarves?!," I nodded. With a smile on his face he replied, 'My friend has been saying how badly he needs one, he is going to be so excited! We all will be.' With that offer of thanks he was gone, back to his table to finish his holiday meal."

She added, "Thank you to all who put in the time and effort to contribute a knitted item for this donation. On a warm spring day in December, the veterans were very glad to see this gift from our church and I am sure as winter has finally arrived, they couldn't be more grateful."

Veterans Inc. is the largest veterans support organization in New England, serving over 60,000 men and women since 1990. They offer services to the men and women who have served our country and their families, including housing and meals, emergency services, job skills training and assistance for those seeking employment, as well as state and national level advocacy for the entire veteran population. To learn more visit

We are continuing to knit scarves and mittens and other warm things. If you would like to join us in this effort, feel free to contact us or just drop things off on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 13 Maple St., Mendon. Call 508-473-8681for more information or to check other times that the Church will be open.


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