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Towers Residents Crochet For First Responders

By Emily Hays

NEW HAVEN – Women in The Towers, Jewish-affiliated assisted-living apartments in New Haven, have added homemade blankets to a Covid-era mask-making network.

Doris Zelinsky, who was part of the New Haven-based company that introduced frozen bagels, raises money and finds materials to turn into masks for first responders and community organizations low on personal protective equipment.

The Masked Creator Volunteers are using the pattern recommended by the Yale New Haven Hospital.

When Linda Schultz, a fellow food executive, drops the masks off with the New Haven and Hamden police departments, she includes blankets made by residents of The Towers high-rise complex off Church Street. The officers keep the blankets in the back of their cars to give to child victims of fires, accidents or domestic violence. The Towers’ blanket-making project has been going on for years. 

The roughly 15 knitters and crocheters have ramped up their production during the pandemic, according to Towers Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Moskowitz.

“I’m like a little machine. Once I get started, I don’t want to put it down. I am not the type of person that can just sit and listen to music or watch television. I have to have something to do,” said Towers 59-year-old Julie Annunziata.

Annunziata crochets four to five hours every night, she said. She spends most of her time in her two-bedroom with her fiancé. They only venture out to take out trash or do the laundry wearing face masks, she said.

Marge Hiller, 70, crochets all day. She said that she watches Jeopardy, judge shows and other television to keep herself company. Her loved ones cannot visit her, so she calls them instead.

She likes that the crocheting has a purpose.

Branford-based recipients of the Masked Creator Volunteers’ handiwork.

“The police departments can have a blanket in their trunk for anyone that has been traumatized by an accident. This is a little bit more than a pat on the shoulder. That makes me feel good,” she said.

Hiller said that she is currently working on her 76th blanket, a black and golden-rod creation. Her favorite blankets so far are those she made from a baby yarn, which required a smaller crochet hook.

“Those are somehow my favorite even though they take forever to make. They’re just different and more delicate,” Hiller said.

The network of 30 “Masked Creator Volunteers” sews around 100 masks a week and has made around 800 so far. Read about other New Haven mask-making efforts here.

To join the Masked Creator volunteers, call Doris Zelinsky at (203) 787-4991.

This article is reprinted with permission of New Haven Independent (newhavenindependent.org).

Main Photo: Towers Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Moskowitz with the handmade blankets.

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