Retiree and avid crocheter, Brenda Brubeck is no stranger to northeast Florida, Born in north Jacksonville, she can trace her family tree in this area back to the 1800s. When the opportunity arose to give back to the community where her heart lives, she didn’t hesitate to get involved.
Brenda and her team make up the Christian Crocheters of First Baptist Church Fernandina Beach. They spend two days a week crocheting items for a variety of populations in the area. From newborns to people in need and cancer patients; their blankets, hats, and booties bring warmth and comfort to everyone they reach.
The ministry started before 2019 when they crocheted hats for people who came for the church’s Wednesday night Sharing Hope and Reaching People (SHRP) meal, then expanded to providing baby blankets, hats and booties to The Nest, A Women’s Center. Later they provided hats to Hope House, and then they were recently commissioned to crochet blankets to be sent to a missionary for children in an undisclosed country overseas.
Brenda learned to crochet as a child in Girl Scouts and picked it up again when she was pregnant with her daughter more than 50 years ago and never stopped. She kept crocheting, sharing what she made, and asking around at church if anyone had a need.
Today, she meets with 3-5 fellow crocheters who have multiple projects going at once, creating a manageable inventory, as there seems to be no shortage of requests.
They’ve made sweaters and lap rugs for the sick and shut-ins, blankets for Jane Adams House and for hospital patients at UF Health and Fernandina Beach Rehab and Nursing. Padded armrests for people going through chemotherapy was a new request.
Keeping people comfortable in the little things appears to be their gift. A highlight for the Christian Crocheters was designing and presenting a red, white, and blue blanket to one of the oldest living veterans on Amelia Island to thank him for his service to the country.
Brenda also facilitates a crocheting class at the Council on Aging on Tuesday mornings. When asked why she started the ministry and why she continues, she said, “I’m blessing people, but I’m getting a blessing from it.” She is tireless and enjoys every minute of it.
The sheer amount of yarn used is impressive. When asked if the ministry has any needs. She said, “No. Some people donate to charity or give back in other ways. We buy yarn.” She recounted a story about receiving a donation of yarn that was such a large quantity, it filled up her car and she couldn’t see out the back window!
Brenda eagerly awaits the arrival of two new great-nieces. Knowing she must make blankets for them, her crochet hook remains in constant motion.