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  • Writer's pictureThe Knitting Connection

BJ’s donates to McGlynn School’s clothing drive

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

By Nell Escobar Coakley/ See original article here

Medford -

It helps to have friends with some pull. And no one knows that better than the McGlynn Elementary School.

The school was “adopted” by BJ’s Wholesale Club on Middlesex Avenue this past fall through the business’ Adopt-A-School program, enjoying the benefits of having someone to partner with during its fundraisers.

McGlynn Principal Patricia Buker said during Harvest Fest, BJs provided a lot of bottled spring water for the event. But it wasn’t until this month that having the business on its side paid off for the school.

Buker said every year the school does a clothing drive through the Medford Family Network for needy families. Students and their families can either donate cash or used or new clothing.

“It was overwhelming last year,” Buker said. “The entire floor of the auditorium was covered with new clothes. We also raised $3,000.”

With a bad economy causing financial hardship for many families, Buker wasn’t expecting this year to be as outstanding. However, BJ’s was able to come through in a big way.

“Steve Webb found out about the drive and he contacted the Knitting Connection,” she said. “He came in with four huge bags filled with mittens and hats, two for males and two for females. They were absolutely, beautifully done. They were all hand knit and ready to give to the needy.”

Webb, a community relations specialist with BJs, came about the local knitting organization quite by accident. And by the McGlynn, too.

Webb said every year, BJs contacts different schools throughout the areas where it has clubs and “adopts” one.

“We’ve been doing it for 12 years,” Webb said. “The goal is to use our resources to enhance the programs a school has already established. We’re trying to give back.”

The process of becoming an “adoptee” isn’t just a matter of wanting to join. Webb said every May, he meets with the schools which apply for the program to see if the two can “mesh” and work together from May to May.

“The principals and the teachers are all outstanding,” Webb said. “The teachers and kids give so much back to their communities.”

Webb said this past May, BJs adopted the McGlynn and has worked on programs with the school. But it wasn’t until this fundraiser, that the partnership bloomed to encompass another community organization.

Webb said he contacted the Council on Aging to ask if there was anyone who wanted to knit some mittens and hats for the McGlynn’s drive. Jessica Flaherty, the executive director, put him in touch with the Knitting Connection, run by Sue Manning.

“It’s just incredible what she does,” Webb said. “[Manning] has 95 knitters and she does this here and in Arizona.” *

Although BJs donated four huge bags full of items to the McGlynn, Webb isn’t stopping there. He’s asked Manning and the Knitting Connection to keep plugging away.

“I asked her to do the Adopt-A-School program with us and raise more hats and mittens for local shelters,” he said. “I also gave her a list of all my Adopt-A-Schools.”

In return, he’s gotten 150 items. So far.

“I really want to stay connected with Sue as long as possible,” Webb said. “I offered to supply yarn for her, but she said she’s got 400 pounds of it.”

On the other hand, Manning holds a small holiday party for her faithful knitters and BJs was able to provide apple crisp for the hard working ladies.

The store also held a night of giving for the McGlynn, where students and families met some of the knitters face-to-face. Buker said students who attended stuffed stockings and made holiday cards for the needy — and the school was able to reap 2 percent from all the shopping done that evening.

“It was fantastic,” Buker said. “I’ve found this program to be excellent.”

As for what the McGlynn collected for its drive, Buker said she was still not sure of the final total.

“It was hard with the economy being what it is,” she said. “But we still had a good response from all our kids and parents.”

*In fact, The Knitting Connection has a 2000 name data base with about 895 knitters, crocheters and quilters!


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