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November 4, 2009 > Handmade Hugs

Handmade Hugs

By Dustin Findley

Handmade Hugs is a volunteer organization that knits for the needy. Retired financial representative, Milpitas resident and church member Judy Smalls founded Handmade Hugs in 2007. She, along with other church members, wanted to give back to the community by knitting and crocheting articles of clothing for those in need.

The group now has 28 church members who volunteer their time to contribute as much as they can. There is no pressure to turn in a certain number of items. To date, they have crocheted almost 7,000 items and donated them to Valley Medical Center and the Good Samaritan Hospital.

The ladies have contributed baby blankets, baby flannel blankets, baby sweaters, blankets for prematurely born babies, child-sized blankets for children in hospitals, quilts and slippers for adult rehabilitation units and hats for babies, children and adults undergoing chemotherapy.

Each item has a gift tag, bearing a Handmade Hugs logo, attached to it. The person contributing writes her name on the tag to show it was prepared with love. Often, the people who need hugs are without family support, so Handmade Hugs offers a great service.

The group was honored at the October 21 City Council meeting during which Mayor Livengood lauded the work of the group and noted, "The people to whom you reach out are people who're sometimes forgotten."

"We'd love to have more volunteers," said Smalls. "We can teach you what you need to know. We meet monthly at my home to turn in completed projects. This meeting is not a requirement but those who attend enjoy exchanging patterns and ideas and sharing our favorite projects and snacks. Our group is casual and low-key and we have no requirement about the volume our members need to turn in."

Smalls has a booklet of instructions and comments that she can email anyone who would like more information.

To become a member or make donations, especially yarn, call Judy Smalls at (408) 956-0636 or

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