(Fresno Bee)–Grace Ganimian and her late husband–Yervant Ganimian–owned the Hye Quality Bakery in downtown Fresno for 30 years. Since July–the 92-year-old Ganimian has been volunteering for Children’s Hospital Central California–making caps for premature babies and infants. She also crochets soft cotton-filled balls for children to play with and hats for young cancer patients. She has crocheted more than 650 items so far.
Ganimian started crocheting for the hospital after receiving an appeal for a donation in the mail. "I felt so bad. I couldn’t give money–but I could offer my services," said Ganimian. Her granddaughter–Michelle Maroot–drove Ganimian to the hospital–where she applied to be a volunteer. Ganimian keeps track of her volunteer hours–which have totaled 1–298 since July.
"I get up in the morning and I can’t do heavy housework–but I can take care of my house and my dog–and I sit down and crochet," said Ganimian. "I do it all day."
Ganimian–who has arthritis in her fingers–said it’s good exercise for her fingers and for the brain–because she has to count stitches.
When Ganimian has a batch of hats–caps and balls ready–Michelle Maroot drives her to the hospital to deliver them. Ganimian wanted every child hospitalized over Christmas to have a gift–so she crocheted 180 small balls from red–green–and white yarn. Filled with cotton batting–the balls are soft enough for children to throw around without hurting anyone or damaging hospital equipment. "She provides such an element of care that is so special," said hospital volunteer coordinator Sharon Steinwand. "The time–caring–and love that goes into each piece is noticed by the families."
Last year–during the pontifical visit of Catholicos Karekin II to Fresno–Ganimian and several other volunteers received a special blessing from the Catholicos. He also gave the volunteers crosses he had blessed.