Local resident donates hundreds of handmade items for children

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson Displaying some of the more than 250 items of handmade clothing donated to Youth Health Services this week are, from left, Jennifer “J.J.” Johnson, the family service coordinator for the Home Ties Strengtheing Families Center, located at YHS, and Allie Becker, the specialty family service specialist at YHS.

ELKINS — A local man has donated hundreds of handmade clothing items for infants and children to Youth Health Services for distribution.

Randy Harris, an Elkins native, dropped off more than 250 articles of clothing — including caps, hats, slippers and “baby cocoons” — to YHS this week.

The colorful clothing was created by Harris on a loom.

“I make them on a round loom,” Harris said. “I have different sizes — I can make them for grown-ups, kids and in baby sizes.”

Making the clothing has become a therapeutic hobby for Harris.

“I got into it right after I got ill and couldn’t work anymore,” he said. “I was always a person who stayed busy. I can’t just sit and do nothing.

“For Christmas one year my sister-in-law got the looms,” Harris said. “I got on the internet and found out how to use them and all the different things you can make.”

Harris said each piece of clothing takes him about four-to-five hours of work to create.

“That batch that I donated took me about a year to make,” he said.

Harris said he decided to donate the clothing to Youth Health Services because of the agency’s connections to families and children.

“I was looking to find something so people could use them and enjoy them,” he said. “Knowing Youth Health has so many services for children, I just felt that was the best way to go.”

Jennifer “J.J.” Johnson, the family service coordinator for the Home Ties Strengtheing Families Center, located at YHS, said the clothing will go to good use, being distributed to local families.

“It’s a wonderful gesture at this time of year to give something homemade of himself to help other people,” she said. “We were very excited to receive the donation.”

Harris said he has no plans to stop or slow down production on his loom.

“I will continue making the clothing,” Harris said. “I hope people get a lot of enjoyment out of it.”

Johnson said some of the donated clothing will be taken to the Randolph County FRN Baby Pantry. She added that anyone wanting more information about the clothing, or to make a donation, can call her at YHS at 304-636-9451.