Pennsylvania woman warms hearts, heads by crocheting winter hats for needy kids

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A 77-year-old Pennsylvania woman is warming heads and hearts with her crocheted hats for needy children.

People from across the country have been mailing television station WNEP boxes of yarn after learning about Mary Dippolito.

“I do it by touch, because when you get old, your eyes get strained,” she said. “I make up my own patterns.”

Dippolito's fingers dance back and forth in a choreographed rhythm as she crochets, usually for about 40 hours a week, she said.

Mary makes everything from scarves to winter hats. She sends the hats to Catholic Social Services, where they are given to needy children.

A WNEP photographer happened to meet her as she sat on a bench across from the station. After posting a video of Mary to Facebook last week, hundreds of people responded, many sending money or yarn to give to her.

Mary explained how she is able to put in so much time with her crochet hook by saying, “I feel like because I'm old, I don't want to be just sitting rocking away, or watching TV, you know!”

Dippolito, who was a single mother, said she lost her daughter last year to AIDS and has no family members to give her cozy, crochet creations to anymore.

She’s now been fashioning hats for Catholic Social Services for 14 years, but says the process still has a special meaning for her.

“I don't like to be useless,” she said.

A WNEP crew met up with Mary for a second time to read her some of the comments people wrote in a Facebook post about her crocheting.

One said, “Thanks for highlighting a terrific soul, she's a sweetheart.”

Another: “That's how you get to heaven.”

“Wow, you know, I don't have anybody, and I'm very lonely,” Mary said. “That makes me feel very good, I really appreciate (this) so much."

Mary, who now has many more friends and fans than she realizes, says she plans on keeping up with her craft in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

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