Canada Comforts Society - April 2024 Newsletter

The Canada Comforts Workshop at the Juan de Fuca Seniors Centre in Colwood, near Victoria is always a busy place on Tuesday mornings. It’s in a lovely bright corner of the building, with enough space for the worktables, all twenty members and a coffee corner.

Betty is in charge of the workshop, which is arranged by task tables. She also works at the Bear table; knitting, stuffing and stitching faces on the bears, along with Anna, Dianne and Pat. Frieda is the quality control person for bears and bags. She cuts and preps the bags for sewing, with Brenda and Sylvia threading the sewn bags. Irene is in charge of the Bag table and sews bags for many uses including bears, medical kits and school supplies, along with Joanne, Ben, Diane and Charmaine, (who also cuts out and serges arm slings). Everyone contributes to this efficient system. Bears in bags were the first project of Canada Comforts, back in 1995, and many thousands have been made and sent since then!

Roberta supervises the Baby Top sewing with Lois, Linda, Swannie and Donna. They also have an efficient assembly system for cutting, sewing, serging and ironing. Baby tops have been made for many years, and are added to the baby packs sent out by the Compassionate Resource Warehouse.

The Quality Control table, which Marlene looks after, with Cathy and Inez, is also where extra projects, such as aprons and adult bibs are taken on. When a request comes in for something new or different for a container shipment, Sylvia finds fabric and patterns. The workshop members are very flexible and willing to help out with these special projects. Most take extra work home with them.

Once a month Sara and Marlene supervise the Drop-off outside the Centre for local groups and individuals to bring their knitting, crocheting and sewing to Canada Comforts. We couldn’t begin to cover all the requests we get without our Satellite groups and individuals who work at home. They are a very important part of our team.

Container Shipments sent from CRW in 2023

1. Warsaw, Poland January, 2023 Tools, electrical supplies, clothing
2. Medyka, Poland March, 2023 Rehabilitation aids, clothing
3. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March, 2023 Gleaner's food.
4. Kasinje, Malawi April, 2023 Educational supplies, bikes and tools, medical supplies, building supplies
5. Tiraspol, Moldova May, 2023 School supplies, bikes, clothing
6. Accra, Ghana June, 2023 Household and educational supplies, bikes and tools.
7. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August, 2023 Household and educational supplies, bikes and tools.
8. Harare, Zimbabwe August, 2023 Educational supplies, bikes and tools, medical supplies, building supplies
9. Kampala, Uganda September, 2023 Educational supplies, bikes and tools, medical supplies, building supplies
10. Kiev, Ukraine October, 2023 Gleaners food, rehabilitation aids, and clothing
11. Kiev, Ukraine November, 2023 Gleaners food
12. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia November, 2023 Household and educational supplies, bikes and tools

1. Accra, Ghana January, 2024 Household and educational supplies, bikes and tools.
2. Accra, Ghana February, 2024 Household and educational supplies, bikes and tools.

Upcoming container shipments

CRW is working on containers for Ukraine, Ghana and Kenya at present.

With the unpredictable nature of container requests and permits, and the difficulty of delivering to/through war zones, CRW can’t always tell us exactly what they’ll need and when.

Most container shipments that go out from the Compassionate Resource Warehouse will have Canada Comforts items on board, packed very skillfully between and around the larger items. We do know that Canada Comforts dresses, shorts, bibs, aprons, bears and arm slings will be going out in these next loads, along with the washcloths, slippers, sweaters, diapers, baby tops and blankets that go with almost every load.

Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves with supplies, as with dresses and shorts over this past winter. We are hoping that we may be able to get people back to sewing those items once the extra supplies have been sent out. We’ll keep you posted.


There are two prolific knitting groups in this small community north of Victoria on the Saanich Peninsula. They knit and crochet many, many blankets, toques, sweaters, washcloths, slippers, socks, bibs, scarves, mitts, teddy bears and dolls for Canada Comforts.

The original group, called Norgarden Knitters, was started in 2006 by Marjorie Bailey, with one other lady, at their Norgarden residence. Marjorie was already 95, and Sylvia remembers her as a tiny dynamo. Sylvia was invited to visit and the group began donating bears and bags to Canada Comforts. Norgarden Knitters met on Friday mornings to knit and socialize and soon acquired more members. In 2010, Louise Worrell became the leader, until her passing in 2022. For a few years during the pandemic, it looked like the knitting group was going to fizzle out, with only one or two knitters still attending. But two new organizers emerged. One is Linda Harris, who got a second knitting group going, Sidney Knitters and Crafters, to honour Louise’s legacy. They meet on Friday mornings at a local church hall and now have 25 members. The other organizer is Bety-Lou Verwolf, who has recharged the Norgarden group back to 11 members so far.

These two groups send their beautiful creations to Canada Comforts every few weeks via pickups and dropoffs run by Linda. I always admire the lovely knitting from these talented ladies when I do the sorting for Canada Comforts, and think how delighted the people who receive these made-with-love gifts will be!

Many people all over the world have benefitted from the generosity of Norgarden and Sidney Knitters, who also feel that they themselves benefit from being able to share their good fortune and do something they love with their friends.


This message was received from Jean Lewandowski, founder of Toques For Kids:

Toques For Kids is a registered charity that sends hand-knit hats to needy children in northern Canada. In its 5th season, this winter, it was able to send over 4600 hats to 99 schools in northern BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, Northwest, and Nunavut Territories.

TFK could only accomplish this with the support of knitters across Canada and the continued devotion of the 4 people who act as liaisons for the mailouts. Requests to be contacted next winter have already been received. Schools continue to indicate that mitts and socks are greatly needed by the children as many of the schools are either on or above the Arctic Circle where wind chill temperatures can reach -62 and they do not cancel school.

Our Canada Comforts liaison for Toques For Kids is Marlene, who sorts and sends the winter toques we receive. The toques that you send must be warm, and sized for school age children. Mitts and socks are also needed.

At present, we have more than enough knitted baby hats (6 month minimum size) for the baby packs, so larger ones would be much appreciated for the kids!


*We need more teddy knitters! Please contact Betty Guiney for the pattern (250 478 3040). If bears are mailed, they should not be stuffed, but sewn up except for 1 ½” left open at one side of waist for stuffing at the workshop. The workshop will also put on the faces.

*Feedback from our bib recipients: Please add more quilting of bib layers to ensure the bibs survive rough washing. We suggest stitching lines about every 3” or some type of design through all the layers. Flannelette or terry towel backing is preferred.

*Please put Canada Comforts and your contact information clearly on donations going us at the CR Warehouse. If not, packages go straight to the warehouse intake, and we won’t see them or be able to thank you or let you know your packages have arrived. Canada Comforts has a pallet within the warehouse, where all our donations are received.

*Canada Comforts does not collect things for the warehouse at our dropoffs. If you have items for the warehouse, please contact them directly for their donation times: 250 381 4483






We can walk far when we walk together…. African proverb

Canada Comforts Society is a registered Canadian charity run by volunteers.


Roberta Graham, President 250 595 9902

Sara Hatfield, Secretary/Treasurer 250 474 4614

Betty Guiney: Workshop Leader 250 478 3040

Sylvia Hatfield, Founder 250 474 4614