Inspiring 96-year-old man knits 356 hats for The Salvation Army

Oct 6, 2020

The Salvation Army needs thousands more volunteers to help #RescueChristmas in Minnesota and North Dakota during the 2020 holiday season. There are many ways to help – from serving meals, to distributing toys, to ringing bells, and much more. Sign up now.

A volunteer named Tom Cornish (pictured) prefers one activity in particular: knitting winter hats. 

Incredibly, Tom has knitted 356 wool hats during the past year. 

Even more impressive: Tom is 96 years old

Why does he knit so much?

“I work for the Lord – that’s what it’s all about,” replied Tom, a World War II veteran who's been volunteering since high school.

Tom lives in the northern Twin Cities suburbs and has been knitting off and on for about 20 years. He began knitting regularly about a year ago, soon after his wife passed away. He tries to knit at least one hat every day. 

“Some days I knit two,” Tom said. “Each hat takes me about four hours. It keeps me busy.”

Each hat costs Tom almost $6 to make. 

“It’d cost about $9 per hat if I didn’t buy my wool on sale,” Tom said with a chuckle. 

The Salvation Army gives Tom’s hats to hundreds of people in need throughout the Twin Cities. 

“Tom is such a remarkable man and he makes the greatest hats for our programs,” said Salvation Army warehouse manager Beth Koski, who meets with Tom regularly. “He is always so pleased to give his hats to those in need.”

Register to volunteer

Registration is now open for bell ringing and other holiday volunteer opportunities in Minnesota and North Dakota. Register to volunteer.

Volunteers are needed more than ever to help The Salvation Army #RescueChristmas for thousands of people and families in Minnesota and North Dakota. The Salvation Army is expected to suffer drastically due to the pandemic, with the possibility of kettle donations declining as much as 50 percent due to fewer kettle locations and ringers, reduced hours, and less cash carried by consumers.  

Here are some examples of how you can safely and responsibly volunteer to help your community:

  • Bell ringing: Just two hours at a kettle raises an average of $60. Sign up to ring bells.
  • Coat distributions: Help parents pick out donated coats for their children. Your support will keep kids warm all winter long.  
  • Toy Shop: Register families for our toy distributions or help parents pick out toys for their children. Your help will ensure that thousands of children receive a present on Christmas morning.  

Please sign up to volunteer now and enlist in God's army.

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