Canada Comforts Society January 2022 Newsletter
New Years Greetings to all our Canada Comforts team!
We hope you all had a warm and safe holiday season, even if only with a few close family or friends.
We are all learning the value of patience and appreciating what is important, during this second pandemic year. Looking back at 2021, what really stands out at Canada Comforts is the loyal and continued support of our donors. So many wonderful items have been made, materials donated, and time given to ensuring it all gets to Victoria and then onwards to destinations around the world. We appreciate that people are able to think globally, even when things may be difficult locally. Your thoughtfulness means so much to people all over the world, who have so little. A huge thank you and best wishes for a healthier, safer and kinder 2022.
(Photo of Marguerite and Roberta at the Juan de Fuca dropoff)
Kudos to Judy and her 13,700 masks!
Judy Hardy has been making three layer, washable cotton masks in 2 sizes, for the past two years. 13,700 of them to date! What an important contribution, especially to places in Africa and refugee camps where there has been little access to any masks.
Judy learned to sew and knit from her mom, who also taught her to share with those in need. She retired ten years ago and started making quilts to donate to children in foster care, and she has sewn lovely bibs and knitted hats for Canada Comforts. When Covid began, Judy transitioned to making masks for family, social services and a homeless shelter. Her first batch of masks was sent to Canada Comforts in April 2020, and she hasn’t stopped. Judy buys the elastic and middle layer flannel, and is using her cotton quilting stash for the outer layers. When masks are no longer in such demand, Judy hopes to contribute to the menstrual kits. As she says, there is so much need and it gives her joy to help.
Lebanon “Miracle” Container
On August 4, 2020, Beirut was rocked by a blast that levelled the port and much of the city. There were 218 people killed and 7000 injured by an explosion of fertilizer stored at the port. Many homes were destroyed and the blast caused damage to half the city, leaving 300,000 people homeless, at a time of serious economic distress in Lebanon.
The Compassionate Resource Warehouse had sent a container to Lebanon in October 2019, full of a year’s worth of supplies for a Syrian refugee camp.
The container happened to be in the port that day and was feared lost. Then, a year later, CRW received a call that the container had been unearthed from the rubble intact. But it took some time to get it to it’s destination, between being stolen, later retrieved by police, and then waiting until enough fuel could be collected, amid shortages, to transport it. So the arrival and opening of the container was quite a celebration!
The construction, sewing and salon equipment were intact. The clothing, school and medical supplies were ready to use, and the 40 foot container itself will be put to use as a skill development center and a school.
A December “miracle” indeed!
Evolving requests from Sylvia
I’ve always said that ‘flexibility’ is our middle name. We certainly have made changes over the years.
When sending to Mozambique, at the village’s request, we always made the dresses very plain. If a girl wore a pretty dress, it would be taken off her. However now the requests that come in are different and we are told that where we are now sending the girls love pretty dresses.
The same thing happened with preemie hats. We use to knit all kinds of them and now the requests have changed. Each baby gets one hat, and we have been asked to make the preemie hats much larger so they will last a baby for 6 to 9 months.
Also the warehouse is getting more than they need right now of toques, but they are very short of knitted hospital slippers in adult sizes. Could you knit them in your own size, to give us a variety, any pattern, but no pompoms (too bulky to pack).
When you send packages to Canada Comforts, along with your contact information, it would be a great help with processing and counting, if you list the numbers of each item you send. Thank you!
For all you “yarnies” out there, some interesting facts about knitting and crocheting:
• One of the earliest examples of knitting, from about 1500 years ago, was found in Egypt…cotton socks!
• Knitting was originally a male only activity…no women were allowed into the first knitting union in Paris in 1527.
• You can burn 173 calories an hour by crocheting (and presumably knitting too!)
• The world’s most expensive wool is from vicuna, a small Peruvian llama. It is prized for it’s softness, lightness and warmth and sells for $600 a kilo!
• Knitting and crocheting are good for your brain, can ease stress and keep your hands limber. But you already knew that!
Containers sent from the Compassionate Resource Warehouse in 2021
( https://www.crwarehouse.ca/ )
1. Harare, Zimbabwe: education, building, medical supplies, bikes & tools
2. Monrovia, Liberia: school, medical supplies, bikes, tools, gleaner’s food
3. Minsk, Belarus: school supplies, bikes, tools, hockey equipment
4. Kampala, Uganda: school and medical supplies, bikes, tools
5. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Gleaner’s food
6. Tiraspol, Moldova: school supplies, bikes, clothing
7. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: school and medical supplies, bikes, tools
8. Bogota, Colombia: school and medical supplies, bikes, tools, Gleaner’s food
9. Harare, Zimbabwe: education, building and medical supplies, bikes, tools
10. Lusaka, Zambia: school and medical supplies, bikes, tools
11. Port au Prince, Haiti: education, building and medical supplies, bikes, tools
12. Dushanbe, Tajikistan: school and medical supplies, bikes, tools, Gleaner’s food
13. Accra, Ghana: Medical, household, education supplies, bikes, tools
Below is an excerpt from an email from Dell Wergeland about the recent load to Colombia to give you more details about all the things that get sent.
“The load to Colombia will be going to an area that has many residents who have been displaced and affected by drug cartel violence and poverty. Many with physical limitations; immigrants and refugees from Venezuela and El Salvador and internally displaced peoples. CRW will be sending skill development equipment (carpentry, welding, electrical) plus (sewing- and even a loom); we are sending teacher resources and school supplies; household supplies like pots and pans; some Gleaners dried soup mix, plus some wheelchairs, walkers etc.
CRW has already packed Canada Comforts blankets, dresses, shorts, sweaters, hats, scarves- and we are sending 150 safe maternity packs- so these are filled with your sewn and knitted baby tops and hats, receiving blankets, washcloths, diapers and other infant donations. We so appreciate everything that CCS sends our way. We know that it is top quality and sent with incredible love. CRW loves sending your items! CRW is just your conduit for reaching people all over the world.”
PAMELA STRIHA “We can try”
In 1992 after a Christian Blind Mission meeting Pam and I attended- I talked to Art Brooker the National Head of the organization. He ended up asking me if I could produce 250 teddies in draw stringed bags for Tanzania to be delivered to Stouffville ON in 5 weeks! Pam and I had heard about the bears in bags for the developing world from the Emergency Care for Children in Bath, England. We knew of a lady in Sidney (just outside Victoria) who was knitting bears but she was away for a couple of months. In other words it would be just Pam and I to get this started.
Pam was an English war bride and still has touches of an English accent. Since I have known Pam for 63 years, I knew exactly what she would say to me “Well what did you talk about?” And when I told her I knew she would look at me and there would be a great long pause and then she would ask me if I were completely out of my mind. And that is how it started out-only Pam paused even longer- then she looked at me and to my surprise she forgot about my mind and said, “We can try”. And that was how Canada Comforts was started!!
We were so fortunate that ladies from several local churches helped us. And to make a long story short, at the end of 4 weeks we ended up with bleary eyes, sore fingers, and 550 bears and bags. We needed the 5th week for delivery to ON.
Pam was a terrific knitter and sewer and she was my ‘right hand’ through all the beginning years. Unfortunately, macular degeneration took hold as well as hearing difficulties so Pam’s eyesight is very minimal and she does have problems hearing. Even though Pam can no longer sew or knit, she has always been generous financially in keeping us going. I try and visit Pam every Sunday and keep her in touch with all the CCS news. She is as sharp as a tack and her memory is better than mine. Come May, Pam will be 100 years old!!!
I see I’ve more than filled the page!! My love and thanks to you all.
We can walk far when we walk together…an African proverb
Canada Comforts Society is a registered Canadian charity run by volunteers.
If you have any questions please ask.
Marguerite Swallow, Secretary/Treasurer 250 642 4354 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberta Graham, President 250 881 3657 email@example.com
Sylvia Hatfield, Founder 250 474 4614 firstname.lastname@example.org