RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – They are set up at a holiday craft fair, manning the booth, knitting and selling what they make. However, it is not a hobby for the teens; it’s a passion.
Meredith Polk started Miles of Scarves in 2009 when she was just 10-years-old.
“It’s a great way to use your talent and what you’re passionate about to help other people,” Polk says. “And it feels really good to know you’ve been able to help so many people in the community.”
Polk had heard about an effort to knit for charity and knew she and her friends could top it. Over the past five years, about thirty Miles of Scarves members have worked to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. So far, they have donated more than $21,000 to MS Research and directly to patients’ families to offset medical costs. The young ladies have even awarded three college scholarships.
Says long-time member Emily Harrison, “We’ve created such a great community and seen so many people that have been helped with us doing this. So it’s really great to see their faces when they see how much we’ve done for them.”
Even more astounding, not one of them has been personally affected by MS, but they still give their hearts and souls to the cause. Polk’s parents have been active with the annual MS bike ride from Richmond to Williamsburg and back, so the girls knew the Multiple Sclerosis Society would be the perfect beneficiary. In addition to their knitting, they volunteer on the sidelines of the cycling event every year.
“We go and sponsor a rest stop and we spend all day at the rest stop helping the riders, cutting up fruit decorating doing fun stuff like that,” says Kate Carley, who has been with Miles of Scarves since the beginning. “So every year it’s something I really look forward to.”
This group has also inspired the formation of similar chapters in other cities.
All of that, and they are still in high school. “It’s a great community and you make a lot of good memories and meet a lot of new people, so it’s really fun,” Harrison says.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals recently named Miles of Scarves the 2014 Bob Carter Companies Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Group. The group will be honored for their work at the National Philathropy Day celebration in DC on November 15.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond