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Turlock senior uses downtime during pandemic to give back
senior knitter
Covenant Living of Turlock resident Melanie George used her free time during lockdown to knit baby hats and blankets for the Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center (Photo contributed).

When Melanie Sharene George realized she would be spending more time inside of her home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Covenant Living of Turlock resident decided to make the most of the stay-at-home orders by hand-knitting gifts for a local charity. 

Since March, 89-year-old George has kept her hands busy by crafting 50 hats and 26 baby blankets for the Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center — all while challenged with macular degeneration, which hinders her sight. An avid knitter and crocheter since age 13, George first learned how to knit when she arrived in America from Iran in 1950. She made dresses for herself, she said, when she wasn’t allowed to bring her own overseas.

Now, her talents have translated into handmade comfort for those in need.

“I’ve been busy,” George laughed. “I never say, ‘I’m bored.’ I’ve never been bored in my life...I’m making even more now and I won’t stop.”

George has lived at Covenant Living of Turlock for the past five years, where they provide her with everything she needs to create the hats and blankets. She also enjoys making shawls and used to know how to knit socks, but has since forgotten exactly how to make the heel. She said she received a “thank you” card from TPHC for the hats and blankets and called the gesture “special.”

“It’s beautiful to do something that makes people happy,” George said. 

TPHC serves those faced with an unplanned pregnancy by offering services like pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STI testing and treatment and post-abortion support, helping community members make informed decisions about their pregnancy. George loves children; she has children of her own, she said, along with five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. 

“It makes me feel good and feel very happy that I can help,” George said. “It was so rewarding.”