Warm greetings to you all                                                          October 2019

It’s hard to believe we are in October already and it is time for a newsletter. I hope I haven’t rattled on too long with this one. It is difficult because some of you have been with us for over 25 years, and others are brand new this year – and a very warm welcome to you!  Many of our team do not have computers, and we gladly send by mail. Also if you are a leader of a group and would like a hard copy to show your members please let me know.  Printing costs do not come out of our funds so don’t worry about the cost of mailing.

Later in this newsletter I hope I will have answered all your Compassionate Resource Warehouse (CRW) questions. For those who don’t know, we are partners with and ship through the CRW. In the next newsletter I will go over our Canada Comforts’ set up.

We have been busy all summer with the following loads.  All shipments requested items from Canada Comforts; I just listed a few extras to give you an idea of other things that were sent.

GHANA 2 loads. (hand carpentry tools, office equipment, bikes). TANZANIA (hospital beds, maternity, baby and hospital packs)

MALAWI (orphanage of 100 children, hospital, retreat centre, school of 400 children). LEBANON refugee camp (setting up sewing centre, hair dressing school, carpentry shop, maternal and infant care, art supplies, children in trauma). MOLDOVA (supplies for abandon children)

THAILAND (aid to Myanmar refugee camps, maternity packs, medical school)

Please note that the Warehouse cannot include commercial bottles such as aspirin or vitamin bottles.  They can only send Rx prescription ones.

Coast Distributors continue to be such a help to us with transporting our work to Victoria.  They have their three BC warehouses as drop-offs for us.

Nanaimo – Gerald 250-390-3187; 6855 Mart Rd, Lantzville V0R 2H0

Kelowna – Ken 250-766-1792; 181 Tilley Rd, Kelowna V4V 2K5

Surrey – Damien (new contact) 604-314-1745; #301, 9775 188 St Surrey, V4N 3N2

We truly have missed the bus service for other areas and provinces. Ontario members mail to Sara Hatfield 250-474-1895; 1139 Greenwood Ave, Victoria V9A 5L9  canadacomfortsontario@gmail.com

All others mail to our President Roberta Graham 250-595-9902;  #208, 1518 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8R 1A8 canadacomfortssociety@shaw.ca

You should have our Sec/Treas as well.  Marguerite Swallow 250-642-4354; #120, 1991 Kaltasin Rd, Sooke  BC  V9Z 0B7  cancoms@telus.net

We have a request for all group leaders to please put a name on sewers work.  The people in charge of the different sewing items like to know who the sewers are.  If there are special requests or changes, we are asked for contact can be easily made.

As you know Canada Comforts is run by volunteers, entirely! One of those is Jayne Loenen, Richmond, BC. (Richmond is just outside Vancouver.) In recent years Jayne and husband Nick deliver to Victoria three times a year a pickup truck full of knitted goods, yarn, pillow cases, baby blankets and children’s clothes, all clean, washed and of good quality. Their home is a mini-warehouse.

How did that all start? Jayne and her late sister-in-law Gebina were dedicated Teddy Bear knitters when in 2002, they learned about Canada Comforts and promptly joined our wonderful network of volunteers. Jayne has personally knitted over 2,500 Teddies!! Soon word spread and a small network sprung up. Jayne has found willing supporters in her community and church. In addition to individual contributors, goods are collected from 3 satellite groups: Richmond’s Caring Ladies, Knitting Sisters in Ladner and Knitting Sisters in Harrison Hotsprings. Jayne loves a bargain, she scours thrift stores for items such as baby clothes, pillow cases and nylotex.  (We thread the bags with nylotex) The Richmond Family Place thrift store in particular continues to provide a stream of onesies, sleepers, etc, on very generous terms.

Asked why she volunteers with Canada Comforts, she says, “It gives purpose to my life. I like that there is no paid staff. Our Teddies give comfort and joy to children who have so little. It is in giving that we receive.”

I received the following email from Jayne on the first of October.  I thought it would be of interest to all our knitters. (Ladner and Surrey are just outside Vancouver)

“The Knitting Sisters in Ladner had a yarn shop in Surrey put up a sign for their customers encouraging the clients to drop off unfinished projects and leftover yarn in a container at their shop.  This was a huge success and it was distributed to several charities including our group.  I received cotton for washcloths and have rolled two large clear bags full of yarn for Canada Comforts.  So, I wonder if this would be an idea for your newsletter across Canada?  The cost of yarn keeps on going up and many knitters live off their old age pension. Another thing that has worked for me is receiving oversized stuffed bears etc from Richmond Family Place which I cut open to use the polyester stuffing for the bears. “Jayne.”

In the Dec. 2018 newsletter, I wrote about the Compassionate Resource Warehouse (CRW) containers; but as many newer team members still have questions, I’ll give some more background. The amazing founder and president of the CRW is Dell Wergelund. We have been part of her team since the Warehouse started in 2000, and they rely on us for the wide range of goods we donate, including the lovely handwork – thanks to you all.

I) REQUESTS come to Dell from Canadian charities working in the field, and she makes sure she is informed about the credibility of the Consignee, and knows of the work they are doing. There is a lot of paperwork in assessing the request lists, and whether we can supply the items. Further, each country has its own set of rules for what items are permitted entry, and this must be checked as well, as are estimates of shipping costs, such as $5,000 to Thailand and $16,000 to Zambia – the last loads we sent. The value of the containers’ goods is far more than the shipping costs. Prices in the field sky-rocket during emergencies. Our shipments supply goods to refugee camps which have little or no access to such critical supplies. Much of the school and hospital equipment we send would be beyond purchasing price, even if available; and much of what we send, though useful in the developing world – hand tools, medical and educational supplies – would end up as landfill in Canada.

II) PERMITS are required in advance to move the container through every point of the journey: from the BC docks to countries through which the shipment passes en route, to the final destination. Import permits enable the container to enter duty free. For example, Mark Fashewsky of Happy Life Charity (see Feb 8th 2019 newsletter) had to get a permit to move a container through Ukraine, and another to move through Moldova, before a final permit gave access to the final call of Transnistria.

III) THE CONTAINER is purchased or rented by the Consignee only once the permits and paperwork have been finalized.  The steel container – a Canadian purchase that must be  seaworthy –  is usually L40’ x H7’.  It arrives by barge from the BC lower mainland to Victoria, and is then trucked from the docks to the CRW.  Once it arrives there is only limited time to load, but fortunately there is a wonderful team of volunteers who do a very professional job.  Each box or item is entered on an inventory list.  Every item is accounted for. The container is then trucked and barged back to the mainland to one of four shipping companies, with permit at the ready to pass through the dock gates. The shipping lines issue an official Bill of Loading (BOL) stating that the container has been loaded.  The BOL also ties all the paperwork together and gives the consignee ownership of the contents of the container.

Each country we ship to requires an estimated arrival date.  However, the container can be delayed by storms, or through en route disruptions such as transference to a different container dock.  This can mean a whole new slew of paperwork!

IV) ON ARRIVAL when the container is opened at the final destination, the first thing the Consignee usually sees is the Canadian flag. However, some countries don’t allow this (Ukraine and Moldova) and each set of rules must be respected. If the container has been rented there is usually only a 4-day turnaround before it must be unloaded and returned. This requires a lot of planning because there might be a great distance from the docks to the final destination. When the container has been purchased it remains with the Consignee, as its large capacity – sometimes the only waterproof structure in the area – can be used as a schoolroom, a hospital, a community hall or a shelter.

IV) CRISIS. In emergencies, such as flood or hurricane, the First Wave response comes from groups such as the Red Cross that rush immediate aid to the stricken area. We are on the Second Wave response. This is important because it means that the First Wave has made an assessment of the damage and compiled lists of what is needed, thereby ensuring we send to each place only what each requires.

The CRW has sent 492 containers and thanks to Dell’s impeccable paperwork, all have safely reached their destinations. 

Together we truly are making a positive difference in hundreds of children’s lives.  I hope each of you know how much you are loved and appreciated.  Please continue to make your items with love and remember each item counts.  It’s not the quantity it’s the love that’s important.  We are constantly told that we bring these children and mothers hope – it’s the greatest gift we can give.

My love to you all, Sylvia

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

If you have any questions please ask.

Marguerite Swallow, Sec/treas 250 642 4354  cancoms@telus.net

Roberta Graham, President 250 595 9902 canadacomfortssociety@shaw.ca

Sylvia Hatfield, Founder 250 474 4614 canadacomforts@shaw.ca