NORTH DURHAM & KAWARTHA: Hooks and Needles knitting club in North Durham is knitting blankets, baby hats, and pneumonia prevention vests, to keep babies warm through the night in third world countries.
“The blankets and the pneumonia prevention vests are actually noted to be saving people’s lives, literally,” said Lynda Chessman, organizer of Hooks and Needles.
Temperatures drop drastically during the nighttime in countries like Ghana, El Salvador, and Liberia, leaving impoverished citizens to suffer through the cold conditions.
“People are freezing to death because the temperatures drop so drastic, and then the wee little babies develop respiratory problems and die of pneumonia,” Lynda said. “Now that we can get them covered and keep them warm that’s not happening.”
The volunteer run group started as a handful of knitters exactly one year ago, in June of 2016, the club has since grown to hundreds of members throughout North Durham and the Kawarthas.
“When we first started we had five knitters, we now have 350,” Lynda said.
She says the community support has been phenomenal. Six different church groups from around North Durham are currently contributing to the cause.
“We have the most wonderful committed women, and one man, who are just committed to doing this work,” Lynda said. “They are knitting their hearts out and the members of this group all need to be commended for the work that they do.”
According to Lynda, Hooks and Needles has been so successful because of the number of churches in North Durham that have come together to support the cause.
Last year she initially set a goal of knitting 1000 items, to match the number of items the Toronto club had knitted.
“I thought, if Toronto can do it, we can do it too.” She said, “It was an unrealistic goal that I set, and it’s since been multiplied five times.”
Since setting the goal last year, the club has knitted close to 2500 pneumonia vests and almost 2500 beanies that have been shipped out to reach individuals in need. The club also recently shipped out 656 blankets to various countries in need.
The club generates no money and does not currently participate in fundraising, so donations of wool are greatly appreciated, according to Lynda.
She said, it allows the people who can’t access or afford wool to still be able to knit for the club, and make a difference in the lives of others around the world.
Cambridge Street Baptist Church, Lindsay, holds a meeting on the third Wednesday of the month, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The meetings are filled with discussions, presentations, and most importantly knitting. The meetings also give members of the club an opportunity to drop off their knitted items.
Anyone who would like to join the club can email Lynda, at Alyn@sympatico.ca, or give her a call, at 705-340-5656.