Resident Leah Currey knits.

In January 2017, residents at Life Care Center of Sparta, Tennessee, expressed that they wanted to do a service project to give back to the community.


Through family members going through cancer, the residents learned that the Cookeville [, Tennessee,] Regional Medical Center cancer center was out of hats for patients who had lost their hair.


“Terri Whited, our assisted living director came up with the idea to knit hats for the cancer center,” said Rebecca Young, business development director. “The assisted living and skilled nursing residents, family members and associates formed a group and named it the Beanie Brigade. Classes were hosted for people interested who didn’t know how to knit.”


Whited taught the classes, along with assistance from residents who were experts. Young designed a label that said “Beanie Blessings” for residents to sew into each hat, as well as cards with a Bible verse and a message from the residents to be tied to each hat.


Within two months, the Beanie Brigade knitted or collected more than 300 hats, which were distributed to CRMC, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville at the end of May. A resident knitting group at Life Care Center of Hickory Woods in Antioch, Tennessee, knitted 50 of the hats to assist with the project.


Whited is checking with other area cancer centers to see if they need hats as well.