Hofstra Pulse Magazine

Missouri Native Lynn Rees Knits Hats for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

A thousand miles away, Lynn Rees warms the heads
of Sandy victims and volunteers.

by Alaysia Ray


Volunteers gather supplies and wear their new hats as they get ready to help rebuild homes damaged by Sandy.
Photo Credit: Alaysia Ray

“I would love to be there helping, but I cannot travel or lift or carry or do much…but I can make hats,” said Lynn Rees, 68, of the CUMC in Warrentown, Mo. in a letter to the Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) of Massepequa. “As far as I am concerned, these hats are both for Sandy victims and for those wonderful people who are able to help with the recovery from Sandy’s anger.”

CUMC is a central hub for volunteers who are sent out to homes all over Long Island, offering aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy since Nov. 4th. The church has sent out memos within their network of Methodist churches and garnered aid from people as far away as Bristol, Conn., nearly three hours away. Even volunteers from thousands of miles away have used their connections to the church to provide aid to victims.

Rees was not able to volunteer in person but instead sent hundreds of hand-knitted hats for volunteers and victims.

Blues, greens, browns and yellows, these one-size-fits-all hats, handwoven in tight stitches have an ever so slightly fuzzy yarn, making them warm and able to endure the cold. Rees purchases most of her yarn on eBay, though some is donated to her as well. The church stores the hats in old copy paper boxes and eager volunteers rifle through the pickings to find their perfect Lynn Rees original hat.

A box of hand-knitted hats donated to CUMC of Massapequa by Lynn Rees. Photo Credits: Alaysia Ray

A box of hand-knitted hats donated to CUMC of Massapequa by Lynn Rees.
Photo Credits: Alaysia Ray

Rees is retired and has been making hats for nearly six years. In 2012 alone, she donated 836 hats to homeless veterans in her county, St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Agape Ministry and also to Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Springfield, Ill.

“I have a hip that the doctors say should be replaced. I’m holding out for now. The result is that I am not able to be as physically active as I used to be, but I like to have things to keep me busy,” said Rees. “The hats are something that I can do while I watch TV and it is something that I can start and stop easily as there is no pattern to memorize.”

Rees was born in Norwalk, Conn. and still has family in the area that was fortunate enough to retain only minor damage from the storm.
“But I wanted to help,” said Rees, “knowing that there were months of work ahead to recover from Sandy and that the first of those months were going to be in the New England winter.”

She emailed Pat Wright, director of Midwest Mission Distribution Center and was then given the name and address of CUMC of Massepequa. Since October, Rees has sent four boxes of hats.

“I make hats year round and send them out between October and February,” said Rees. “Some of the local hats I deliver. The hats going to St Louis are delivered by the Auch family from my church. For the rest I pay the shipping.”

It is generosity like that of Lynn Rees that allows organizations like the CUMC of Massapequa to prosper in its Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Even from a thousand miles away, Rees has been able to warm the heads of victims and volunteers searching for that silver lining after Sandy’s misery.

Another box of hand-knitted hats that were donated. Photo Credits: Alaysia Ray

Another box of hand-knitted hats that were donated.
Photo Credits: Alaysia Ray

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