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Meet Evelyn DiCenso, Sharing Hats and Hugs at Carillon of Fayetteville

Evelyn DiCenso’s talent for making crocheted items stretches back more than eight decades, to when she first learned how to crochet from her grandmother.

Over the years she has made countless baby blankets, coats, scarves, baby sweaters and hats. In February, the Carillon of Fayetteville resident, along with several fellow residents and staff, shared the warmth by distributing handmade hats to the students at Sunshine House Day Care during the Hugs & Hats Love Drop.

“I love to crochet because it keeps my mind sharp and my fingers nimble,” says Evelyn. She crochets as she watches TV in her room and is always looking for and inviting other residents to join in on the fun.

Evelyn especially enjoys crocheting hats for babies and children. In December 2016 she crocheted a number of hats that she wanted to give as gifts to local children in the community. Inspired by her generosity, Carillon staff set out to find a local group that needed warm hats and selected the Sunshine House Day Care in Fayetteville.

As word spread about the project, other residents were eager to get involved. The group worked together to create handmade cards with inspirational messages written inside and to decorate bags with colorful, festive heart shapes. Along with a hat and a card, each bag contained a sweet treat. The project became so full of love that they decided to name the love drop Hugs & Hats. Bearing 20 Hugs & Hats bags, Ms. DiCenso, along with two other residents and Carillon staff members, arrived at the daycare to deliver the goodies on February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“It felt so good inside, to see all those happy little faces,” says Evelyn. “The kids were so excited when we told them everything was made just for them!”

The group from Carillon spent about 45 minutes talking and visiting with the kids. Everyone shared their names, birthdays and ages. The kids also talked about what they usually get for Valentine’s Day, as well as what they make or give to their moms.

“The kids were so surprised when we told them how old we were,” says Evelyn. “Especially when they heard that some of us were almost ninety years older than them! We told them about all the things Carillon residents are involved in, including playing Wii games. They thought we looked great and that we were pretty cool!”

The Hugs & Hats Love Drop was so successful that Evelyn is organizing another one for the fall. Next time she wants to make a difference for even more children, and her hands are already busy crocheting hats. She would also like to get other residents onboard to make matching scarves.

“It means the world to me, keeping babies and children warm. It warms my heart,” says Evelyn.

Posted in Sage Stories on March 24, 2017

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