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Pay It Forward: Springfield Stitches for a Cause

Before our eyes, the homeless population in this area has exploded. One local woman isn't just sitting back and watching. She's using her talents to comfort the homeless and others she finds in need. That woman is the winner of this month's Pay It Forward award and a $500 check from County Market to go with it.

"We started in 2008. I wanted to learn to knit a sweater for my dog-which I still owe her," award winner and Springfield Stitches for a Cause founder Tracie Blaise said.

Quickly after starting a group for local "knit wits", folks with yarn on the brain like herself, she got a higher calling.

"She is our fearless leader. She's our inspiration and she's very humble about it. She just says that she finds the need and makes it evident to us," Molly Polly of the group said.

"People typically associate knitting with old ladies and she's definitely not that. It's a group of very youthful people," Deb Janik, who is also a part of the group, said.

Under Blaise's leadership, Springfield Stitches for a Cause does three service projects locally and around the country each year.

Blaise has lead knitting projects to comfort newborn babies, warm the homeless, give chemo caps to those in need, and raise money for other folks battling cancer. Like any of our Pay It Forward winners would, Blaise says it is her honor to give.

"It's fantastic. It's the best feeling to be able to know that these people do need hats and scarves and washcloths and all the different things that we provide, and that a stranger thought enough of them to make sure they had what they needed," Blaise said.

Right now, the group is working on an afghan project, collecting squares for the final piece.