Sometimes life takes a series of unexpected turns. 11 February 2017, Linda Huijsen died unexpectedly. Her husband Richard gave her wool stash to her friend Cathy because she was the only person he knew that could knit. And he told her to “do something good with it”. Cathy put a post on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to knit for the homeless. People answered the call. Now we have knit over 2,000 items of warm clothing and Stichting Wool for Warmth is a going concern. And our community is about 1,000 strong. And to celebrate, Wool for Warmth has launched an annual dinner to honour Linda.
11 February 2020, 25-30 knitters and crocheters brought their favourite foods. They brought drinks. They brought plates and decorations. And music. Some even brought their husbands! We joined together to celebrate Linda Huijsen’s life and the series of events that brought us together.
Who is Linda Huijsen?
Unbeknownst to Linda, she is the founding patron of Wool for Warmth. She survived two bouts of cancer. Then we were shocked when she suddenly died of a thrombosis, leaving behind her two sons and her husband Richard. The past three years have been difficult for her family and friends. But this year we are seeing her spirit alive in Wool for Warmth. Linda’s loving, happy spirit. A person full of giving, living, and generosity.
After Linda died, her husband Richard gave all her wool to me – because I was the only person he knew that knitted regularly. And knitting regularly was necessary because Linda had 9 garbage bags of wool. Sock wool to knit socks for her diabetic father. Large amounts of acrylic to knit a blanket for each of her family members. Ends of projects, future projects, miscellaneous projects. Lots and lots and lots of wool because she was always knitting for someone else. When Richard gave her wool to me, he said “Do something good with it”. And we did. We built Stichting Wool for Warmth. And now we are all knitting for someone else.
Wool for Warmth Community
Wool for Warmth is more than a charity that knits for the homeless, and this is what we saw tonight. We are building a very special community based on warmth, friendliness, and kindness. We say “if you are lonely, you can knit for the homeless; or if you want social contact; or if you like to knit and don’t have anyone to knit for; or if you want to knit for a good deed; or if you want to learn how to knit, you can knit for the homeless. I was overwhelmed by the positive atmosphere and the openness of our members. They are happy, generous, and kind. They are like Linda. We can see Linda’s reflection in our community. It is something that needs to be experienced to be believed.
He said “Do something good with it”. And we did.Cathy Delhanty quoting Richard Faas
We want more dinners like this. The guests tonight reflected the diversity of the Wool for Warmth Community and it added to the festive atmosphere. About half the people were Dutch and the rest came from 17 other countries! You can imagine the delicious and varied food on the buffet table. And you can understand that there were no leftovers! Where do we come from?
Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Finland, France, French Guiana, India, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Somalia, Suriname, Syria, USA, United Kingdom. It is amazing we had enough food!
I, who can always speak, tried to give a thank you speech to everyone and was overwhelmed to tears. Richard, who can never speak, was strong and open in his admiration of our group and gave a heartfelt thank you. Richard told us that he this is the first anniversary of Linda’s death where he felt happy. Because he was healing. Because of Wool for Warmth and the wonderful people it attracts. A crazy bunch of people that knit and crochet to help others. Who donate wool and time. Who laugh, hug each other, and come from all corners of the world.
Sometimes life takes a series of unexpected turns, but even in the face of sadness and difficulty, the stitches can be knit into a new, unexpected fabric. We hope to see you at the Second Annual Linda Huijsen Memorial Dinner. Without a doubt it will be bigger, and it may even be fancier, but it will still be an honour to celebrate Linda and all the happiness at Wool for Warmth.
You can join the 2nd Annual Linda Huijsen Memorial Dinner through the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2584477075155488/
There are 5 different ways you can help:
- Wool for Warmth works without subsidies and every month we need to raise €500. Please help by donating to our gofundme campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/knit-hats-and-scarves-for-the-homeless
- Contact us with donations of wool, knitting and crochet supplies, and knitting talent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start a club? Email us at email@example.com.
- Spread the word. Homelessness is growing and we have a lot of work to do.
- Follow us on Facebook and LIKE our page https://www.facebook.com/woolforwarmth/?view_public_for=2231732456915792
2 thoughts on “First Annual Linda Huijsen Memorial Potluck Dinner”
I could not have told the story better. Thank you for this. I’m afraid our tables have turned again. As eloquently as Cathy described this wonderful evening to you, I am at a loss for words right now.
The loss of my wife and the way it happened has had me lost in grief and anger for so long i was afraid it would never heal. We had conquered the cancer, we were making plans for the future again, and just like that, in about 15 minutes, she was gone. And i had to watch it. Our children had to watch it and as i’m writing this i can still see it before me.
But i’m not crying anymore. I’m not cursing God for taking her way too early anymore.
And that is 100% thanks to Wool for Warmth. All these wonderful people i met through WfW have made me realise something:
By her death, hundreds of people are feeling more alive then ever, hundreds of people found a new purpose, new friends… There are not many homeless people in the Hague who do NOT have at least one item of clothing, a hat or a scarf that WfW provided for them.
Knowing this, and seeing the exponential growth WfW is experiencing and dreaming of what may become of that in the future, it gives a sense of meaning to my wife’s death that’s truly comforting.
I am looking forward to the end of this Corona crisis so i can visit all our knitting clubs, meet all those wonderful people and thank them. And not just for the great work they do, but also, and maybe even mainly, for helping me heal and even find purpose myself.
We are going forward now, Richard.