NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA - A knitting circle is connecting senior skills, entrepreneurship and a little self-interest to help their community center thrive.
KleinLife, a community center in Northeast Philadelphia, offers cultural, medical and social services to all comers, but the budget is always an issue.
"When you're involved in a nonprofit, you need to be very creative," said Barbara Shotz, VP of Senior and Education Programs.
So Shotz and Toby Strogatz, a board member at KleinLife, took advantage of what they observed - a clutch of ladies who already knitted for charity. Mim & Ray handbags was born.
"We started off with 4 or 5, our original knitters that are here today and now we have 36. I knew they would feel valued after they were introduced to this new concept," said Strogatz.
The concept is a marriage of the circle's skill with yarn and needles and Italian leather designs done by Strogatz and her daughter.
The knitters are paid for their work and all profits go to support KleinLife programs.
"It's charity for people and for me," said knitter, Katie Willner.
"The money is wonderful. You can share it with your family. The bags are gorgeous and I think we are really proud to be a part of this," said knitter, Joyce Adelman.
Mim & Ray's handbags are rolling out this year, coast to coast and even overseas.
"When I saw the handbags, I was so impressed. I couldn't believe that I was part of this," said knitter, Mickie Levin.
The enterprise has given the knitters more than they have contributed to others.
"All our love is put in these panels, in these bags. I love to do this and if I can help KleinLife, I will be more than happy," said knitter, Sheva Kruglikoz.
"They feel valued, they feel they have a goal and a purpose. They have a sense of community now and they are family," said Strogatz.
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps