Hats with heart
By Katie Scarvey
KANNAPOLIS ó It’s only November, but Carrie Hayes has already started thinking about her part in next year’s Operation Christmas Child.
Hayes was at Memorial Methodist Church in Kannapolis recently, an Operation Christmas Child collection site. She was relaxing with her fellow church members who were there to process the gift-filled shoeboxes that will be distributed to children in more than 130 countries around the world.
But even in relaxation mode, Carrie ó as usual ó was keeping her hands busy.
With crochet hooks in her hand, she was working on a toboggan ó one that will go into a shoebox next year and ultimately warm the head of a needy child.
Hayes says that she started crocheting toboggans for Operation Christmas Child boxes about four or five years ago.
She had filled up a box that she was preparing and realized that she needed one more thing to go into it. A toboggan was just the ticket, she decided ó so she sat down and made one.
Things kind of snowballed from there. Each year since, she’s made more than she did the previous year.
Last year, she made about 200.This year’s total: 305.
“My afternoons and evenings, that’s just about what I do,” she says.
“I enjoy it. It relaxes me. It beats taking nerve medicine.”
And, she says, she likes knowing that what she does will keep some children’s heads warm.
Hayes ó who is 87 ó says that she’s been crocheting for as long as she can remember.
“Mom taught me when I was just a toddler,” she says. She figures she was probably about six years old.
She remembers making a lot of doilies back then, she says.
She has a sister in Asheboro who makes baby hats for the babies born at the hospital there.
She keeps busy too, Hayes says, since she makes one for each baby, and there is an average of a baby born a day there.
Friends and acquaintances know that Hayes is always working on her toboggans, so they keep their eye out for yarn and pick it up for her when they see good deals.
“You see yarn, you buy it for Carrie,” says Jean Anderson, a fellow church member who has been involved with Operation Christmas Child for many years.
“It’s wonderful to think of Operation Christmas Child year-round,” Anderson says. “Miss Carrie’s a good example of thinking year round.”
“She’s always doing something for somebody.”
Hayes grew up in the Seagrove area. When she was 17, the oldest sibling in her family, she got a full-time job as a “looper” at a hosiery mill to help support her family.
She married Amos Hayes and they had three children. She has seven grandchildren, all over the world, she says. One lives in France, and one lives in Tanzania, Africa. She also has three great grandchildren.
Her husband died in 1987, and in 1990, she moved to Kannapolis to be closer to her daughter.
She lives just a few houses away from the church, which is fine with her.
“It’s one big family here,” she says.
“It’s been great.”