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The Hat Project is a remarkable feat of small-scale philanthropy

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One of the  great humanitarian endeavors in North Central Washington is the Hat Project, started by retired social worker Aïda Bound.  

The Hat Lady, as Bound is known, has inspired an army of seniors to make hats for kids living in poverty. In doing so, she has created opportunities for retired individuals to make a difference for kids in poverty by the simple of act of creating hats for kids. She and her supporters have accomplished this with a miniscule budget of maybe $700 a year. How about that?  

It's a very simple approach to personal philanthropy. The seniors donate their time, individuals and service donate money, batting or yarn and the project just keeps on rolling. There are circles of hat makers in various parts of the country who have been inspired by doing something good as a community and are making similar contributions in their hometown.  

Bound sends out an email occasionally to update her supporters on the latest developments. In her latest missive, she reported that a group of senior women in Grant County, Wisconsin made more than 100 hats in the past year and that they were thrilled to be doing meaningful work and making a difference.  

Supporters of the Hat Project do more than just give out hats to kids in need. On a visit to East Wenatchee's Food Pavilion, they stopped and gave a hat to a homeless woman standing by the side of the road with a sign asking for help. "She was TOTALLY THRILLED," Bound wrote.  

And they've branched out to making quilts for small children. "We gave one to a mother for her 5-year-old son," Bound reported. " I asked her to take a picture. She asked if it would be OK if she saved the quilt and wrapped it up for him for Christmas. WOW!." Recently, the local Riverview Kiwanis Club sent Bound a "huge" check to keep the project running.  

This project is elegantly simple. People, mostly seniors, donating their time and talent to make hats with donated yarn to brighten the days of youngsters. It creates a wonderful sense of purpose for the hat makers.

This is a project that is changing the world. If you'd like to see my video interview with Bound, log onto and click on videos.