We were blessed to receive 2 boxes of items in 2013 that were knit by Irwin Davis, the father-in-law of Amy's aunt Kat Davis. He suffered from Alzheimer's at the end of his life, but he never forgot how to knit.

The last box of donations was shipped to Minnesota from Canada in December 2013, but never reached its destination in Fridley at Kat's sister Linda's house. We hoped it would eventually show up... But the United States Postal Service said it had been delivered, and so that was that.

Until the second week of March. The doorbell rang at Linda's house, and when she opened her door there was the box.


We're so glad it surfaced because it contained the last mittens Irwin knit. It's only fitting they be donated to folks facing their own battles.

Irwin Davis, hard at work knitting.
Amy with the long-awaited box when it finally arrived full of mittens and yarn.
Kat also donated yarn in the box that went missing for 3 months.
The last batch of mittens
The first batch of mittens went to the Harbor Room in Cambridge in January 2013.

I asked Kat about her father-in-law, and here is what she wrote:

My father- In- law Irwin Davis had said he started knitting at the age of about 8 years old and he started by using sharpened popsicle sticks when he learned how to knit. I am assuming he was taught how to knit by his mother.  He knit things to donate to the war effort in WW II . So he would have been approximately 11 at that time. He kept up the knitting for the rest of his life, especially when he retired from the railroad and owned his own Shoe repair business.   I don’t know exactly what he liked about it, I am guessing it was something that was relaxing and that could be done sitting in his chair in his shop or in the corner of the living room. In the past he also made socks and hats, scarves and vests.

Some memories that I have are of him sitting and knitting in the dark because he did not have to see to knit and never used a pattern.  The picture I am sending was taken in 2005, with our dog on his lap and still knitting.  You would always find a knitting needle or 2 down in the sides of his chair, if you needed a scissors, we always knew all you had to do is look in his knitting things.  He made me a multi colored scarf about 8 years ago out of ends of balls of yarn that I still wear ever winter and people are always asking me who made it.

In his later years with the Alzheimer's, he mostly only remembered how to make mittens, but we would find the occasional socks or scarves in his knitting also.  He still would sit in his chair in the corner of his room and knit.



You worked hard each and every day,

For a small amount of CN pay.

Keeping all our family fed,

And with a nice warm bed.

Then one day you had to quit,

So you started to fix shoes, and knit.

Toques, scarves, socks, vests,

And mitts and mitts, oh those mitts.

There was big and small,

And the one size fits all.

You sat there in your chair,

Knitting without a care.

Whistling a tune,

From early morning till noon.

Wednesday was bingo night,

Saturday Hockey night.

Dabbing numbers and watching fights.

For all you did in your life,

You always loved our mom, your wife. 

Today we celebrate the life of you,

But also say a heartfelt adieu.

This is not Goodbye,

But see you later.
On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, we dropped off 100 items at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester. It was a special visit as Amy's relatives are currently staying there. We were able to hang out with the Andersons -- Jackie (mom), Saphire (sister who underwent treatment last summer) and Levi (the current patient) -- while we were visiting. 

"Thank you so much for this donation," Sue Weber told us.  "We are glad that you can use them," responded Amy.


The Ronald McDonald House is a “home away from home” for families who must travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to seek medical treatment for their children. The House provides shelter and support to families facing difficult days and long nights. Families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House share their stories and gain new insights as they meet children and parents with similar concerns. The House is a place to share hopes and dreams. 

In 2011, 990 families called it HOME. Families came from 40 states and 22 different countries.

There are 42 total guest rooms.  Six of the rooms are specially designed as long-term guest rooms, providing expanded space for those families who must stay months for prolonged medical care. Each regular guest room has a queen size bed and a twin bed with a trundle bed underneath or twin bunkbeds. They can accommodate five people per guest room.  There is also a private bathroom. Each room has a closet, drawers, shelves, desk area, telephone with voicemail and all-in-one computer system (computer with webcam, TV & DVD).

Families are allowed to stay as long as their child is receiving medically necessary care; inpatient or 4 appointments per week if outpatient. The average stay is 7-10 days. Thanks to donations there are pantry foods available -- just enough for a light snack or a quick meal. A shuttle service takes families to and from the clinic and hospital. At times grocery & gas gift certificates are donated, which are of great help to families facing financial stress. Donated phone cards also help families keep in touch with loved ones at home. Community members provide opportunities for our guests to get together at House Dinners and other fun activities in the house. Tutors can be arranged for children by the Rochester Public School system. Area support groups meet at the Ronald McDonald House monthly and families are encouraged to attend their meetings.

General donations amount to 55% of the House budget, while revenue from special events makes up about 25%. Guest receipts (the $15/night families are asked to contribute toward their stay) make up about 10% of the annual budget for the House.  10% of the annual revenues are generated from “other” miscellaneous sources. McDonald’s sponsor special events, support the pop tab program, and collect donations through their store canisters, a percentage of which, support the Rochester Ronald McDonald House.


Four Rochester area families united together around a common vision -to provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children in 1979. 

These families reached out to doctors, nurses, social workers, business leaders and community members with a goal of securing a home for families with ill children, a home where children, siblings and parents could support one another as they shared similar medical scenarios – as well as a home where they could share the responsibility and costs, of day-to-day living.
In 1980, they realized their goal with the formation of Northland Children’s Services, a nonprofit organization established to operate a 12-bedroom home for families with seriously ill children. 

The House, located at 613 Second Street SW, operated for 10 years as Northland House.  Then, due to the efforts of a strong core of volunteers as well as the support of then McDonalds owner/operator Phil Henoch, the Northland House was invited to become a licensed Ronald McDonald House in 1990. 

The affiliation with Ronald McDonald House gave children and their families a common “face” to look for, a smiling clown after whom the home is named.  It also provided higher visibility and recognition in our own community, and enhanced our ability to raise much-needed funds to support daily operations.

The Ronald McDonald House operated for another 5 years at its original site on Second Street.
In 1995, they moved to the present location at 850 2nd St. SW.  Ronald McDonald House became a 24 guestroom home, complete with living areas, kitchen, laundry, playrooms and a game room for children to enjoy.  In the new facility, each room was accommodated with a private bathroom (a great improvement from the “old House). The board, volunteers and community rallied to build and support this facility raising $2.2 million for construction costs.

An organized volunteer program of “HouseWarmers” was developed to help support day-to-day activity at the House.  HouseWarmers greet visitors to the House, they answer calls, assist with light housekeeping and help check new families into the House.  More than 100 volunteers serve as HouseWarmers throughout the course of the year. In 2012, 300 volunteers gave 13,873 hours of service to the house, with an estimated valued of $302,000.

The next several years saw increasing need for our mission and in 2004, we opened 18 additional rooms, expanding this home to 42 total guest rooms.
LEARN MORE @ https://rmhmn.org/

CLICK HERE to read about our donation to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House.
“These are beautiful hats,” said Rochester Hope Lodge volunteer Dixie as she looked through the two boxes we dropped off there on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Dixie is one of the 40 active volunteers who help keep the Hope Lodge running. She is there once every week, no fail. Volunteers do everything from running the front office, giving tours, making beds, doing laundry, gardening, making dinners, and being a support system for guests. Many of the volunteers at the Hope Lodge are cancer survivors.

There are 12 staff at the Hope Lodge, under the management of Jammie McGuire. According to the web site, “The staff at the Hope Lodge has a very important job. They are all very well rounded, compassionate, and always willing to lend a hand. Most guests and staff form special bonds during their time here, by eating dinner together, doing puzzles, or offering a shoulder to lean on when needed.”

As Jammie looked through our donation, she said, “Your hats are so nice!”

She added, “There seems to be no shortage of people needing hats.”

Jammie herself gave us a tour of the Rochester Hope Lodge during our visit there. She told us that the average stay at the facility is 26-28 days. There is such a demand for the rooms that the average waiting time is between 7-10 days. (In comparison, there is not typically a wait at the Minneapolis location.) An addition in 2007 was made in order to help alleviate the wait, but even 60 rooms isn’t enough.

“We are always full, and we always have a wait list,” said Jammie.

The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Rochester, Minn., opened its doors in 1999 with 28 rooms available to those patients receiving cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic. In June of 2007, it was renamed the Sandra J. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and was expanded to 60 rooms to meet the growing need of housing for cancer patients and their caregiver.

Guests stay for free at the Hope Lodge, as long as they live 40 miles away from the Mayo. It is a three-block walk to the Mayo, and there is a free shuttle provided by the Mayo that runs between the Hope Lodge, the Ronald McDonald House and the Gift of Life Transplant house.


- 60 private guest rooms with two beds, bathroom, telephone, internet access
- Eight fully equipped kitchens where guests prepare their own meals
- Three large community dining rooms
- Eight television lounges, two libraries, meditation room, fitness room, game room, and three outdoor patios
- On site laundry facilities
- Registered Guests are offered a personal web site that helps them communicate with family and friends during and after their stay. Options include a photo album, personal recipe book and visitor guest book.
- Free membership during their stay at the YMCA.
Most of the hats at the Rochester Hope Lodge have been made by one woman who has donated 1,800 hats over four years.

There are a number of intimate living rooms at the lodge.

The library

The Library

There are 8 kitchens for guests to use.

There's a grilling space outside.

A VCR library

The laundry room also has a sewing machine

There's a fitness room, but it doesn't get used much as guests are given free passes to the local YMCA.

Games and puzzles

Another intimate living room. According to Jammie, the place comes alive in the evenings.

While staying at the Hope Lodge with her husband, an artist offered to paint a mural in the kids toy area.

Cars in the parking lot at the Hope Lodge had license plates from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and Illinois.

411 Second Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
507-529-4673 or 800-227-2345

The Schulze family donated funds to both the Minneapolis and Rochester Hope Lodges in memory of Sandra Schulze. She was the wife of Best Buy founder Richard Schulze.

Sandra was a woman you would never forget once you met her. She was Sandy to everyone and she never forgot a face. Her warm smile, compassionate manner, wise eyes and gentle touch always let you know she was listening and interested in you. She made you feel special.

The Sandra J. Schulze Hope Lodge, a concept of the American Cancer Society, is the outcome of the generosity of the citizens of Rochester, the compassion shown by the Mayo Foundation and the Schulze family. It is a true partnership of caring and a perfect reflection of Sandy’s special way of helping others cope with the treatments needed to battle this difficult disease.

Sandy was born in Hopkins, Minnesota on December 11th, 1940 and lived most of her life in Minnesota. She earned her Associates Degree from the University of Minnesota and married Richard Schulze on June 2nd, 1962. Sandy had four children and five grandchildren when she passed away on June 21st, 2001 of Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

Click here to read more about Sandra J. Schulze.

1000 hats! You inspire us.

Nothing brightens our day more than a call or email from someone we don't know who wants to drop off hats and yarn for Team Yarn.


How did they find out about this work we're doing? Often we don't know. We just know they want to lend a hand.

It is remarkable when people who don't know either Amy or I want to contribute to this important work that Team Yarn does. It means so much to both of us. We're always a bit surprised when we get those emails and calls.

We're always a bit surprised and amazed when we tally up the total number of folks who have donated to this effort.

Today we realized that when we pick up the 3 bags of hats sitting at the Cambridge drop-site that more than 1,000 hats have passed through our hands, on their way to help cancer patients at 10 sites throughout Minnesota.

This whole journey has been amazing.

It is such an amazing thing to see others reach out and give.

You are all so very inspiring!

Ashley sent a surprise email the other night because she wanted to clean out her yarn stash. She brought it right over when Amy responded. Thank you!
A package from Alabama arrived on March 20.

Three bags of hats from Lorraine Hertges were delivered to the Cambridge drop-site earlier this month.
Joanna S. lives in Uptown and leaves her detailed and beautiful hats hanging on Amy's door for her to find when she returns. Wow.