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Dana Reed — Turning Time on Her Hands Into Handiwork for Others

Written by Shelley Hebert; Nominated by Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit

When 13-year-old Dana Reed found herself stuck at home just weeks after celebrating her Bat Mitzvah at Beth Am, she reached for a crochet hook to help pass the time. Dana had first learned to crochet when she was just five or six years old. Now with plenty of time on her hands, she soon found a way to turn her handiwork — and the unexpected availability of time — into an opportunity to help others.

Dana realized that she was producing more colorful crocheted blankets than her family could use. She considered donating her creations to an assisted living facility, but learned that this type of donation was not possible due to concerns about COVID-19. So instead Dana turned to Rabbi Jon Prosnit, who had officiated at her Bat Mitzvah, to see if he had any ideas.  

Rabbi Prosnit suggested that Dana’s beautiful blankets would be welcome at LifeMoves, a nonprofit organization that assists families who are experiencing homelessness. Beth Am volunteers had been serving a monthly breakfast at a LifeMoves shelter in San Mateo prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rabbi Prosnit recognized that now even more families would urgently need its support. In addition to physical warmth, a beautiful handmade blanket could offer the warmth of caring and compassion.

Past Beth Am Board President and LifeMoves CEO Bruce Ives has offered to deliver Dana’s blankets to LifeMoves when she is ready.  In the meantime, she has already completed two large ones, half a dozen smaller blankets for babies or toddlers to cuddle, as well as an assortment of colorful hats. More yarn has been ordered and Dana plans to keep going, adding baby caps to her inventory.  

For anyone else inspired to do something similar, Dana offers valuable advice.  “Remember to have fun with it,” she says. “It’s something you want to do, not something you have to do.”  

There is a teaching that the Hebrew letter “vav” looks like a crochet hook and that its meaning of “and” expresses connection throughout the Torah. Dana’s generous spirit and outreach to help others in need also shows that in her hands, a crochet hook has turned into a “vav.”

Tue, January 19 2021 6 Sh'vat 5781