Pratt & Whitney donations

Pratt & Whitney donates gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, ear muffs, baby blankets and socks to Marshall House Family Shelter!

In Greater Hartford during the winter months, The Salvation Army can provide shelter to up to 1,000 people on average between the Marshall House family shelter, Overflow Shelter, and the Warming Center. As days get colder, the need for warmth and warm items increases. Over the last six years, The Salvation Army has been very fortunate to have received thousands of hats, mittens, scarves and blankets from the generous employees at Pratt & Whitney. This year alone, over 1,300 items were donated including several crochet items handmade by a mystery crocheter. “We believe the mystery crocheter may be an employee’s mother,” said Lynn Nelson, Chemist at Pratt & Whitney. “She just keeps knitting us stuff. 37 hats and 10 blankets!”

Pratt & Whitney donations

Nelson starts promoting the mitten tree in August or September, reminding coworkers of the upcoming drive in staff meeting and formal announcements. 6 years ago, we came up with the idea of doing a mitten tree, and it really took hold,” said Nelson. “Employees have one day that they build the tree and we keep it up a week or so. It’s actually a coat rack from Mr. Sikorski’s office. They hang string and garland off of it. It doesn’t look like a coat rack any more, there are so many mittens on it, it looks like a tree!”

Pratt & Whitney donations

Donations come in from more than just Connecticut employees. Mittens are sent from Florida, California, Texas, England, Singapore and Germany. Hank Sikorski, Fellow of Non-Destructive Testing at Pratt and Whitney said “We have some fortunate people who have jobs and can afford to do this. It’s good to give back and do something nice. I think the team really gets engaged. We’ve done it six years in a row, and we’ll continue. It’s a good tradition and it’s a good fundraiser.”

Pratt & Whitney donations

When people receive the items from Pratt and Whitney, they are very appreciative. “At the Warming Centers, people are usually out all day,” said Sarah DiMaio, Program Director at The Salvation Army’s Marshall House family shelter. “They are cold and sometimes wet. Receiving something dry and warm is the only thing they are asking for. The little kids love receiving the hats and mittens, especially if they have characters on them, or if it’s something new, they get really excited.” The Salvation Army’s Marshall House is the only shelter in Hartford that can serve children under the age of 2. “We usually have a lot of newborns and infants," said DiMaio. “We also work with the other shelters, so if they have women who are expecting, they are transferred to Marshall House when they are getting ready to give birth, so they can return to a safe place.” DiMaio was especially excited to see so many handmade items from the mystery crocheter. “This person is amazing. It’s great that someone is willing to give without recognition and for the reason of wanting to do good. Having something handmade adds another level of hominess, caring, compassion – someone is really putting in time and effort to help the people and families that we serve.”