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The Transformative Power of A Simple Act of (Crochet) Kindness

By: Country Meadows |

Jillian Gaddis and the Country Meadows Crochet Corner

Jillian GaddisIn a world often filled with hustle and bustle, it’s a joy to stumble upon individuals like Jillian Gaddis, who is on a personal mission to spread joy through the art of crocheting. As the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Country Meadows of Bethlehem, Allentown and Forks Township of Easton, Jillian has embarked on a heartwarming journey of kindness, one stitch at a time.

Like many during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jillian turned to crafting as a source of solace and creativity. However, it was her involvement in a “Random Acts of Crochet Kindness” group on Facebook that sparked a brilliant idea – why not use crochet to spread kindness within her community?

She began crocheting gifts for folks to find in public places. She used small patterns and left notes with each piece. Then, she brought the idea to a few residents at Country Meadows who had crocheted prior to living in the retirement community. “They were so excited to join an activity that was a departure from traditional board games and cards,” Jillian said.

The Crochet Corner initiative at Country Meadows was born, offering residents, family and staff the opportunity to create small, crocheted gifts shared throughout the community. Jillian provides take-along kits with patterns. Crafted items include granny squares, bookmarks, key chains and decorative ornaments like hearts. Teddy bears and amigurumi (a Japanese-style of crocheted stuffed toys) are also popular. The finished handmade treasures are packaged with “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” notes and left in unexpected places, like grocery carts, on church pews, in doctors’ offices and around the Country Meadows campus, to brighten the day of the recipient who finds them.

The Crochet Corner isn’t just about crafting; it’s about fostering a sense of community and contribution. “Giving back to your community gives everyone a sense of purpose,” said Jillian.

Performing random acts of kindness has become a way for residents and staff at Country Meadows Retirement Communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland and sister community, Ecumenical Retirement Community in Harrisburg, Pa. to honor the memory of co-founder and former Pennsylvania First Lady Mary Jane Leader. Mary Jane encouraged residents to brighten another person’s day through a random act of kindness and was dedicated to serving others. In 2012, the month of April was designated in Pennsylvania as “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” month in celebration of her birthday on April 7.

The ripple effect of Jillian’s initiatives extends far beyond the walls of Country Meadows. Recipients in the community often share their delight on social media, creating a virtual chain of kindness that transcends physical boundaries. Looking ahead, Jillian envisions expanding the reach of the group, with plans to ramp up production of handmade items like hats, blankets and scarves for those in need during the winter. It is her hope that residents of all care levels can come together, contributing their unique skills to benefit those who are less fortunate or just need a smile.

Jillian is a shining example of how a simple act of kindness, fueled by passion and creativity, can make a profound difference in the lives of others. Through her dedication to spreading joy through crochet, she reminds us all of the transformative power of small gestures and the importance of nurturing a culture of kindness in our communities.

“Hello, my daughter found this very cute, sweet teddy bear in our shopping cart at the Giant on Nazareth Pike. She was so happy & excited that she found her. Thank you for the gift & thank you for making our day!”

“Found this at the Weis in Schnecksville!! Helped a bad day not feel so bad!”

“My 6-year-old son Kairo grabbed a mini shoppers’ cart at the Weis in Schnecksville when he was with his dad. When they returned home, he handed it to me and said ‘Mom, I found this beautiful heart for you. It was free!’ Haha! Thank you. This made my day.”

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