Quilting and knitting wasn’t always a passion for Rachel Baum, but it was something she picked up at a young age thanks to an aunt.

“She taught me how to knit and crochet," Baum said of her aunt. "I kind of do it in her honor, because if it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have picked it up, and it’s a lifelong thing that no matter what, you can always pick it back up again.”

It’s also a hobby that helped occupy her time when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 last March.

What You Need To Know

  • Founder Rachel Baum decided to found the Saratoga Peace Pod after a fight with COVID-19 in 2020

  • The group knits and quilts goods for those in need

  • The goods are distributed locally and globally

“I was doing a lot of knitting and crocheting, making a lot of stuff and there’s only so many gifts you can give to family before they say enough already,” she said.

After her bout with COVID-19, Baum was left with countless knitted goods. But she found a place to donate her goods online – an organization called Knitting 4 Peace.

"They deliver them all over the world to people in crisis," she said. "Refugees, people who are ill, people who are immigrants, in refugee camps or in poverty that need the things that we make.”

Thus, the Saratoga Peace Pod was formed. Baum and about 40 members are working to help others in this country, abroad and in their own backyard.

“It’s been really wonderful," Baum said. "You see people going crazy making things. I feel like we’re helping people, but it’s really helping me more than anything just being able to make a contribution.”

Baum says her goods have been well received by local organizations like the Wait House and Direct To Life, to name a few.

“It’s so different when you put the time and effort into making something beautiful,” Baum said. “I mean, look at this hat! It’s gorgeous. These little guys are called Peace Pals. What a wonderful little thing, to have a handmade toy that’s so soft and lovable.”

Baum says she never thought she and her group could make such an impact, and adds she will always accept newcomers who are ready to make a change.