90-year-old knits hats during pandemic, supports nursing home with some of the proceeds

Merna Priestley, 90, was able to sell all of the hats she knitted during the pandemic. Merna even donated some of the proceeds back to the home.


As a way to keep busy while stuck inside amid COVID-19, 90-year-old Merna Priestley of Omaha, Nebraska, turned to knitting hats.

The hobby ended up being pretty lucrative, once David Castillo, the activity director at the senior living facility where she lives, started helping her sell the hats by promoting them on social media.

"We started getting calls left and right," David said. "I was answering these calls, putting orders together and making sure that I met people outside to get those hats to them."

In no time, Merna's hats were sold out. And she'd been knitting so much, her doctors recommended that she take a break.

But she'd already sold enough hats to buy an iPad to video chat with her family and donated some of the proceeds back to the facility.

For David, helping Merna sell the hats was all about maintaining some normalcy amid the pandemic.

"At the end of the day, it's all about Merna and her listening to those calls and those stories," David explained. "It really brought that positivity. It really put a smile on her face, and I think that's very important, especially during these times."

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