Ashley Howard Knit-a-thon By: Lisa Crouse

I was fortunate in June of 2008 to travel with my daughter, Christian on a mission trip to Swaziland with the Heart for Africa organization.  Needless to say it touched our lives like nothing else had ever done.

Recently I fell in love with knitting and after mentioning this to Janine and wondering how we could combine my love for both knitting and Heart for Africa, like only Janine and of course God can do, we joined forces with women from all over the world and together we hand-made 25,000+ beanie hats for the orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland.  The Beanies were distributed at an event called Litsemba 2010.

Fast forward to last fall when I learned Becky Fern had TONS of beautiful donated Yarn from Sky Alpaca and was trying to figure out what to do with it! The children will again be coming to Litsemba 2011 so why not another knitting project.  Also our knitting group, known as “knit a latte” on facebook  because we knit at Starbucks every second and fourth Tuesday of the month experienced a horrible tragedy to one of our knitters, Christi Howard when she lost her daughter, Ashley. Both had traveled with Christian and I to Africa and Ashley clearly had a heart for the orphans. Our knitting group was trying to find a way to bring love and support to Christi, so the idea of a knitathon to raise money to feed the children of Africa for the Litsemba event on July 23, 2011 was perfect. We hosted the 1st Annual Ashley Howard Memorial Knit-A-Thon at the Alpharetta Athletic Club.  Over 30 knitters came together to knit scarves and/or shawls and raised over $10,000 to feed the children at Litsemba 2011 and all in the honor of Ashley Howard.

They day was filled with fun entertainment that included yoga, guitarist and comedians! Thanks to Cat O’Neil that not only led us in yoga but knitted with us all day! Thanks to Lindsay Hays another (knit-a-latte knitter) that was instrumental in the success of the event, from getting lunch and dinner donated, two comedians donated and even had her fiance play the guitar and sing to us!!!

Lindsay also put together a beautiful slideshow of Ashley in Africa with the orphans.

My life is so much richer by the opportunities like this that God has allowed me to be part of and the people He has blessed me to get to share it with. Each week new knitters join us and we look forward to the second annual Ashley Howard Memorial Knit-a-thon. I hope you will join us or  have your own Knit-a-thon!

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