ANNIE YONAS & GRIFFIN KERSTETTER
Two young girls make a difference with United Way
“United Way helps us reach the people in need with the quilts we’re making.”
When Annie Yonas and Griffin Kerstetter were in second grade, they learned about homelessness and it deeply affected both of them. With help from their parents, Community Human Services (CHS), and United Way of Southwestern PA, they started the Home Lost Project, an organization that raises awareness about homelessness and provides quilts to individuals facing a housing crisis.
“We wanted to raise awareness to our peers about the problem,” Griffin explained. “We started collecting t-shirts and making quilts.”
Now eighth graders, the girls have made hundreds of t-shirt quilts over the last six years thanks to help from community volunteers. Once the t-shirt quilts are completed, United Way and CHS help to deliver them to people facing housing crises across the community.
United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council hosts two ‘Sew-In’ events every year, where WLC members, their families, and other community members, come together for hours of quilt-making with Home Lost. On average, about 15-20 quilts are completed at each event.
While the events are fun, both girls have the most pride in knowing they are making a difference in their community.
“We realized we needed to do something, and with Home Lost and help from our community we feel like we’re raising awareness and keeping women, children and other people warm,” Annie said.
To learn about United Way and Home Lost’s next Sew-In event, visit https://uwswpa.org/events/wlc-sew-in/.