Middletown grandma – committed to generosity – knits for animals in Australia

Connecticut Families

MIDDLETOWN – It’s precise work that requires nimble fingers and a keen eye. “This is what I do,” says 86 year old Lorraine Cienava as she knits. When she hears of a need, she gets to work – clicking and creating – even when the crisis is across the globe.

“I’m making nests for the birds that are fire victims in Australia,” she explains, noting that news footage inspired her. “It’s a big project – what those people are going through – it’s very sad.”

She’s already knit a pile of nests – averaging three a day. “When the babies are born, they put them in these little nests and they stay in there until they get their feathers and are able to fly,” she says.

This generosity is nothing new. Cienava – called “LoJo” by family – has made purple hats to support victims of shaken baby syndrome. And she helped her granddaughter’s girl scout troop make comfort dolls for children in the Dominican Republic.

When she had open heart surgery, she asked for only one thing, from her hospital bed. “My knitting!” she laughs. “I was knitting on the bed! The doctor came in and said, ‘Hey, I thought you were going to act sick!”

But that’s just not LoJo’s M-O. When she’s not knitting, she’s logging 5,000 steps a day. “I’m keeping busy!” she says, adding that this could be the secret to her good health. “I think so, that could be it!”

Sure, keeping the mind and body sharp is important but don’t discount setting goals and giving back, habits that keep Cienava strong and smiling.

Next, this grandma plans to make warm socks for the homeless and donate a big bag of beautiful baby hats to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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