Knitter, volunteer

Since moving to Cedar Crest, Joyce Chananie has created an army of do-good knitters. The Instructional Knitting group she founded has donated more than 2,000 handmade items to local New Jersey charities in need.

'It sounds like a lot—and we're a very industrious group—but we do most of the work while laughing, talking and having a good time,' Joyce says.

What began as a how-to group for beginning knitters at Cedar Crest has turned into a well-oiled operation of about 12 regular members, plus other occasional volunteers.

The group made its first big donation of hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to nearby Valley Hospital. After that, word got out and demand for the group's handmade pieces grew. The club has made donations to Chilton Memorial Hospital in Paterson, the Armed Forces and several shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence.

'We're a charitable group first,' Joyce explains. 'But that doesn't mean the ladies don't enjoy themselves when they meet for a knitting session. You can't get a bunch of women together without doing some talking and having fun,' she says.

Joyce Chananie