By Rich Place

A group of women who meet twice a month at the Concord Senior Center have been volunteering their time and talents to create various crafts for those in need.

Calling themselves Women of Wednesdays, or WOW, the group of more than a dozen gather on the first and third Wednesdays of the month for three hours of knitting, crocheting or whatever the day calls for, plus plenty of friendly fellowship and conversation.

“We got together because we are a group of people who enjoy our social interaction and we enjoy doing handiwork and crafts, but we want to have a purpose,” explained Linda Dains, one of the group’s members. “Our purpose is to find groups in need and donate items.”

And since the group’s inception in October, they’ve already produced a significant amount of items that include hats and scarves, dishcloths, blankets and seasonal items. The list of organizations the group has partnered with so far includes the Elizabeth Ministry, the local Food Pantry, Love INC (In the Name of Christ), Baker Victory Services, area nursing homes and both the local and county chapters of Meals on Wheels.

Knitting and crocheting projects range from slippers for victims of domestic abuse to teddy bears for children. A collection of unique, crocheted octopuses are expected to go to Mercy Flight to comfort children on the helicopter. Dishcloths wrapped around bottles of dish detergent are given out by the local food pantry. Sitting on the table of a recent WOW meeting was a bag of colorful, plastic eggs that will be turned into unique napkin holders that look like bunny rabbits for an area nursing home’s Easter season.

“It’s fun to do stuff and know somebody is going to get it, appreciate it and use it,” said Joanne Ridder, another crafter. “I like learning a new skill and a new craft, too.”

The WOW group varies in attendance from about 10 to 20 members, with about 20 on an email list that the group uses to stay connected and prepare for upcoming meetings. There are no official positions like president, with all members having an equal voice.

“We don’t have officers, we don’t have dues,” Ridder said. “It’s pretty flexible. We just get together, help the community and make people feel good. We enjoy what we are doing.”

The WOW group’s conception was an idea from many of its current members who wanted to do something for the community and saw a need in the crafts they make. Now, the ladies get together in one of the gathering rooms of the Concord Senior Center and craft while catching up in conversation.

“I like it because it’s just a good time,” said Corrinne “Corki” Salvesen, another member. “You can just talk and relax but you are still doing something useful.”

“I would knit at home and now I can knit here with everyone,” added member Helen Williams.

The group tends to work on a project at a time — it was most recently slippers — but others can work on whichever project they desire. Sometimes a project will either be started or finished at home, using the time together to continue working on whatever task is at hand.

“We usually have one project we are learning and someone brings in suggestions or patterns,” said Ridder. “There’s no organization to it but we try to plan ahead to get supplies, send out an email and tell people what to bring.”

All items that are made are donated, and the group discovers organizations that could use their crafts simply by word of mouth, members said.

The WOW group is seeking craft donations — like yarn and fleece, but also other craft materials as well — that can be dropped off at the Concord Senior Center. And members made sure to point out that new attendees are always welcome to join them from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the senior center.

“Just come and join us,” Dains said. “We welcome new friends.”