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.
Dippolito 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 Dippolito to Facebook last week, hundreds of people responded, many sending money or yarn to give to her.
Dippolito 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 said the process still has a special meaning for her.
“I don't like to be useless,” she said.
A WNEP crew met up with Dippolito 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,” Dippolito said. “That makes me feel very good. I really appreciate (this) so much."
Dippolito, who now has many more friends and fans than she realizes, said she plans on keeping up with her craft in downtown Wilkes-Barre.