June 5, 2000
I was in Missouri visiting my sister, Eleanor Bassett, in April of 1998 and she asked me to help her with a project that she was working on. Crocheting 7" X 9" pieces. These would then be given to the hobby store where she worked and sewn into 49" X 63" blankets. Loving to crochet, and sitting in meeting for a week, I thought this would be a great project. I made about 47 of these pieces in the three weeks that I was visiting with her.
Upon returning home my husband and I looked for an organization that was doing this here. In 1997 I had made about 38 lap robes for the nursing home and they thanked me but said they could not use any more at the time. We could not find any group that did blankets for the people in Canada. So we started to do it on our own and thought that we could give them to the organizations that cared for people on the streets.
As I crochet and my husband, Stu, knits we were having fun using up scrap yarn and making squares. We found that 8" X 8" squares are much easier to do and sew together. As others heard what we were doing they wanted to help also. Soon there were others doing it. Some people gave us yarn that they had left over and people were saying let's name our group.
The middle of January 1999, we came to where we are now a wheel chair accessible space provided by Lethbridge Centre Mall. This space is donated Free of Charge for our use. We now had a place to inventory and distribute our blankets. We meet on Mondays 10 - 4 and Thursdays 10-5 to Stitch N Chat. Many new friends have been made at the fun meetings. We knit, crochet and sew blankets together. Some people come for the day and some for just an hour or so. People are free to come and go as they wish. You don’t have to make an appointment or go by a schedule you just show up and have fun. Many people have dropped off donations of yarn to help those who are doing this work.
From January 1999 to January 2000 over 36,000 volunteer hours have been recorded knitting, crocheting and sewing blankets together. In March alone this year we had well over 10,000 volunteer hours recorded. Much of this time was put in by people working in their homes. We can not tell you membership as we are just now starting our membership drive. Many will chose to just be volunteers and not become members and that is ok also.
Blankets For Canada Society has a mandate to serve the organizations that care for people without shelter and in need of warmth in Canada. All blankets are distributed in the area where they are made until all needs are met. All our blankets stay in Canada.
Blankets are given free of charge to the organizations that care for the people without shelter and in need of warmth. All such organizations are invited to contact us to see how we can help them in their service.
As of June 5, 2000 we have chapters starting in:
Toronto area, ON
Port Elgin, ON
Nigra Falls, ON
St. Catharines, ON
Prince Albert, SK
Porcupine Plain, SK
Swift Current ,SK
Ox Bow, SK
White Rock/Vancouver BC
Port Alberni, BC
Hay River, N. W. Territories
And Snow Birds in California and Arizona plus friends from the USA that send squares and blankets.
Many of these Chapters are small and just getting started. But all are active and doing a wonderful job.
Blankets For Canada is involved with people of all ages. In Lethbridge the Girl Guides made squares for about 10 blankets. The a Nobleford School grades 5 and 6 have made at least 7 blankets. This school year. Calgary has a school of very young girls and boys that hand made 8 blankets. In the greater Toronto area we have a high school that gave over 100 hand made blankets from Sept to Dec of 1999, these were made by boys as wells as girls. We have other schools that are adding this to their community outreach program.
Many times I hear from other Chapters what my husband and I have seen for our selves. We go into the Senior Lodges and we are given hugs and big thanks from the people as they tell us that they now have a reason to live. Someone needs them. Their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have all the knitted and crocheted items they can use. Grandma needs to be needed and now she is able to do what she enjoys and knows so well and it is wanted by someone. More and more the men or starting to come in with their knitted squares. At first they sent their wives in as "Real Men "don’t knit. They are becoming proud of what they do. When we say that we have the saying "We don’t make mistakes, We make originals" , we really mean it. There are no squares of any size, shape or degree of workman ship that are not used. Some of our squares are truly one of a kind (I hope).
Blankets For Canada Society Inc. Is growing all the time. A lot of this is thanks to our web site www.blankets4canada.ca hosted by DataBoss Inc. and designed and supported by BCTechWorks Consulting. This helps people to hear about us each day. We have a very positive group of all ages working to care for the people in the area where they live or close to it. You can work whenever and wherever you want.
Nancy J Panting - Founder
Anyone can join us, and give of their time or materials. Please contact us to find out how.