Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Little Time and a Little Yarn?

 There have been many requests for donations of blankets and warm garments, from different organizations which help the needy here in Australia. If you have a little spare time and some spare yarn please consider making squares for blankets for the needy. The squares can be either knitted or crocheted. I use up all my small pieces of yarn as well as some I buy especially and make crocheted squares every day. When I have 35 of them finished I crochet them together into a blanket to donate. The blanket is finished at 50" x70" and will fit a single (twin) sized bed or allow a person to wrap themselves in it to stay warm.
  I use 8 ply yarn or a combination of thinner ply to make up to 8ply and crochet using a 4.5mm crochet hook, completing 10 rounds for each square. If you wish to knit a square, just cast on 50 sts using knitting needles sized 4mm and knit in garter stitch or any pattern until it measures the same length as it is wide. Of course if you'd rather knit hats or gloves, they will also be much appreciated. I've included reports from 2 groups which help me to distribute the items to the needy both in Vic and in Qld. There are many groups in the other States which would also appreciate any donations. The constant message is that the number of people needing assistance is growing faster than the resources of those groups which help them. Please email me for the addresses if you wish to post donations direct to the groups.
The first account is from Karen of the group Knitting For Brisbane's Needy and they actually help in lots more areas of Qld than just in the Brisbane area.

Peter and I ventured out to Ipswich today to deliver items that had been requested from 7 different organisations when we were at the Ipswich Street Links Day last month.

We took over 1500 items, so we are looking "bare" again in our "warehouse" (aka spare bedroom!) but know it won't be long before we have another good stock!!

It was rather cold when we left home and when we got out there. 7 completely different organisations, with completely different clientele, but all with the same story, they have more clients than they have money, food, clothes, blankets etc to give them! We saw for ourselves just one instance of someone in dire need, doesn't know where to turn to next.

The first one we dropped off donations to, were telling us how normally once a week they are able to give financial help to pay bills etc to those in ABSOLUTE NEED, and sometimes give them food vouchers but they can't do that now as the funding they get from the government is $xxx per year, and they have already used up every $xxx and have to wait till September for the next round of funding and then they aren't guaranteed of getting any! They told us that on a normal Wednesday, when they have interviews for financial/food help they see AT LEAST 30 people or in other words at least 30 families. They were telling us about a man who had turned up there this morning before we got there, seeking help. He and his wife and child/ren (not sure how many children) had had to move out of where they were renting because first of all he was made redundant from a job he had been in since he left school, can't find another job as yet, then their rental property was sold and the rent with the new owners went up $100 p.w. extra and they just couldn't afford it. Same story, they go to at least 10 houses up for rent per day but always miss out. The last few days he has spent a lot of the day finding somewhere for his wife and child/ren to sleep, whilst he sleeps in their car. anyway the ladies at this centre told him they couldn't offer him anything in $$$ help or food, BUT to come back later as they knew we were coming. He turned up whilst we were there, and he was wearing a thin long sleeved top, jeans that had seen better days, and I couldn't tell you what was on his feet. But he actually cried when we offered a
nice new and warm 3/4 length jacket to him, and then when the girl told him that they could now give him some blankets for himself, wife and children and other things he got very emotional. When we left he was at his car, standing holding a baby of about 9 months old, wife was sitting in the car, but this little baby was dressed nice and warmly (it was 1 degree in Ipswich when we were there!) but coughing its little heart out, red eyes , very pale looking...apparently they had taken the baby to a doctor, given a prescription but didn't have the money for the prescription, that's why they were trying to get a few $$'s from the centre.
As a man from Shelter NSW said in the Today Tonight interview tonight, (where they interview a young mum with a 5 year old boy who are living in a tent in a caravan park for $180 p.w., its all they can afford) in such a rich country as Australia is, it just SHOULDN'T happen...but it does...then they went straight onto the next story ... the politicians pay rise...even the backbenchers RISE is more than some people earn in a year!!

But each and every organisation we went to were just so very, very truly grateful and overwhelmed with what we were able to give them. Unfortunately we couldn't fill every wish list, but we tried. One of the things we couldn't fulfill were toiletry bags... we have the bags but not much to go in them at this stage!! We have promised 100 toiletry bags to one place by the end of August ...

At some of them the talk got around to Christmas and how every year it is getting worse for organisations trying to help those in need give their child just one small present.

SO if you are wondering what to make and like making toys; clothing, etc this is a heads up of what we will be getting asked for! ONe place in particular also said that toiletries are much needed in the summer months, they have 2 showers where they are, that homeless are able to use and they use them especially in summer when its hot and sticks, but they normally don't have toiletries, and the organisation doesn't get the funding to supply them!
So Christmas may be over 5 months away but these places are already thinking about it!!

But they are all still worried about the cooler days/nights ahead of their clients. I think that from everyone we met at these organisations today 98% of them do what they do because they love doing it and trying to make a difference, not just for the pay! Beautiful people!

If you are able to make a few items, squares for blankets or even donate yarn that would be a huge help for so many people in need.
I also work with Janice of Needy Stitches in Melbourne and she has also asked for help with warm items. She has set a target of making 150 blankets to distribute and any squares you care to make will help her to reach her goal.
 She wrote:

It is REALLY cold here in Melbourne and according to the news it is cold almost everywhere so I got to thinking that everyone deserves at least a blanket!! Imagine sleeping rough without even a blanket to at least keep you a little warmer. I have come up with an idea! I have set a target of 150 single or larger size blankets for us to knit or crochet or quilt to give to those less fortunate. It is a way for us to use our 'crafty' skills to help keep someone warm.  If you crochet and just want to make squares do 6 rounds of any colour and then 1 round of black and send them to me and I will sew them up. It would be pretty cool to have a blanket or blankets made up of granny squares made by various members of Needy Stitches. The same would go for knitted squares. Cast on 50 stitches and knit til it is a square, send it to me and I will sew them up. Of course if you are in a sewing mood you could sew them together and send a completed blanket!! So let's get going on those squares and each blanket I get I will post a picture on the website and we can count them down til we have the target 150 completed!
 Things are getting tougher and tougher and charities are screaming out for things to help their clients so it is very easy to find a home for everything we get.
 So if you have a little time and a little yarn it will help many of the needy people in our communities. Of course I'll still be making quilts and donating them as there are so many elderly people who are sitting in cold homes because they can't afford the heating now as well as kid's quilts for abused kids and baby quilts for disadvantaged families etc.
 I'd better get back to the crocheting now and get another blanket done. At least it helps to keep me warm while I make them.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Lynne said...

So much need at times it can feel a little overwhelming. It reminds me of the story of the man walking on the beach covered in hundreds of starfish. He came upon a boy who was picking up the starfish and throwing them into the sea. "what are you doing?"asked the man,"you can't save them all. There are too many starfish, what you are doing doesn't make any difference." the little boy bent over, picked up a starfish and pitched it into the sea. Looking at the man he said, "it just made a difference to that one!"

We are so blessed to live in this country and, as Abraham was told, "you are blessed to be a blessing!" I love that people like you and I, and many other we know, can make a difference by doing things we love. Keep up the good work, Jan.

Jan Mac said...

Yes Lynne, It can be overwhelming if we're not careful. We can;t keep everyone warm but those we do will feel better for it. Thanks for stopping by.

Gina E. said...

Jan, what is Janice's blog address? I can't find her on your sidebar, and I thought it might be good if I was to get those crocheted rugs from our opshop that I mentioned to you, and deliver them to her direct, rather than post them to you. What is the best option for you? (if you answer this here I will see it)

Maria said...

As Lynne can be so overwhelming sometimes...the need out there.But like you both, I also beaver away making items and wishing I could do more.

Jan Mac said...

Janice's blog address is
I'll email you her home address if you need it.
Thanks Jan

Jan Mac said...

Hi Maria, Yes there's lots of very generous people working away on items to donate. I told Karen and Janice that I'd mention them on my blog in case people want to help but don't know what would be useful. Every little bit we do will help someone.

Maria said...

Jan I got a lovely thank you note from Carmel in Taroom for the yarn I sent. The 'Taroom ladies' have recently delivered a number of items including rugs to Toowoomba where the items will be sent on to Karen and Peter.

kaiteM said...

We're busy here too knitting squares and blankets for Save the Children and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. Every stitch counts.

Jan Mac said...

Kaite the need is so great that there are plenty of places which will love our donations. Maria, I received a lovely letter from Carmel today and she is very happy with the wool I sent as well. Good to know that we can sub-contract the work out and get more items finished to donate. LOL

kaiteM said...

I've just sent Janice an email as i have 4 larger diagonal knitted squares here which she can have immediately if they're any use.
Also Jan i have about 13 of those QAYG strippy ones similar to the ones i sent you before which need a soft backing, do you want me to post them to you? cheers

Jan Mac said...

Hi Kaite, Yes I can still use those QAYG blocks and add them to some more which have arrived.
Cheers, jan