The Wheaton Gazette November 11, 2009
"Nimble Fingers on the Prairie keeping children warm
By Jim Smoger
A Wheaton woman is trying to raise public awareness about a local group dedicated to keeping people warm during the winter.
Nimble Fingers on the Prairie, a nonprofit organization founded last year, has distributed 1,000 sets of hand-knitted mittens, scarves, and hats to families in west central Minnesota.
The group's president, Marybeth Potts, said last week they are looking for local knitters and donors.
"Traverse County is the only county where we don't have anybody participating," Potts said.
Potts and two other women founded Nimble Fingers on the Prairie last year. Her interest was sparked when she learned that a "mitten tree" program in Morris, which had previously distributed mittens to families in poverty, was being discontinued.
She talked to some friends who were knitters, formed the organization, wrote a mission statement, and developed a website to advertise.
This fall alone they donated 139 hand knit items to the West Central Communities Action, and another 234 items to area Head Start Programs. Along with the mittens, hats and scarves, they've also donated sweaters and baby blankets.
Potts said she'd like to have more knitters from Traverse County. For those who don't have the time to knit, there is a place on the organization's website to make donations.
"For a five dollar donation, we can buy enough yarn to make two sets of mittens, scarves and hats," Potts said.
Potts said knitters from as far away as Texas and Alabama have contributed to the program through the website. Nimble Fingers has received donations from across the country.
There is a place on the website for guests to make comments. One woman, named Sarah, wrote that she throught it was a great way to get involved in the community.
"Although I do not live in the north right now, I would love to contribute. I have started a hat, mitten and scarf set for a young girl," Sarah wrote, "I hope to have one for a young boy completed and sent to you also before the weather turns cold."
Potts was originally from the Fergus Falls area. She previously worked in landscaping, but was disabled by work-related injuries. She said one benefit is that it helps to keep her busy.
The website address is "www.nimblefingersontheprairie.com". Materials and donations can be dropped off at Potts' home at 1306 Broadway in Wheaton. Her phone number is 563-8559."
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