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All year long, Sister Antonita Vigil knits. Her hands fly as she turns out hats that will be gifted to the Santa Claus Girls for boys and girls in Kent County.

Sister Antonita’s focus is on the needs of the Santa Claus Girls who distribute gift packages containing hats and mittens to more than 14,000 school-age children and teens every Christmas. She is joined by many more Sisters in this labor of love.

According to Sister Marge Stein, OP, skeins of yarn continue to come in from all directions each year, all year long. The donated yarn is crafted into hundreds of hats and headbands.

“I’m so impressed with the number of people: Sisters, employees of the Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids, family and friends are captured by the heart of this project and give so generously of their yarn as well as their knitting time,” says Sister Marge.

The Santa Claus Girls have been active in Kent County for more than 100 years. It was Sr. Marge who introduced and activated the Sisters to support the mission of the Santa Claus Girls five years ago. “We sent out a plea for yarn that was just sitting in Sisters closets and the yarn came in not just from Sisters but from families and friends. One box of yarn arrived from friends in Canada,” says Sister Marge.

“I like the fact that the Santa Claus Girls give these practical gifts to the children. I’m warmed by the thought that the items help children stay warm and protected from our long cold winters,” says Sister Josephine Mary Birchmeier, who makes sure the yarn cupboard is stocked for Sisters all year long.

Just after Thanksgiving, all the colorful hats and headbands were delivered by Sisters Marilyn Holmes and Mary Ann Ferguson to the Santa Claus Girls, where volunteers will package up hats, books, and some playthings for the children of Kent County to open this holiday season.

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