Monday, March 15, 2021

Winter Update

Hello Friends of WHN!

Hope you are all well and starting to see signs of spring where you live!  I have a little news for you from this past winter.

You may recall that a few years ago we partnered with the Inuuqatigiit – Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families in Ottawa to share warm woollies (we provided sweaters and vests at that time - in 2017).

As you know, our operations are postponed due to the pandemic. However, we did have some items at HQ that could not be squeezed into the boxes for our last pre-pandemic shipment North, as well as others that came into headquarters after our hiatus started. But the best place for your lovingly made knits are on cold hands, heads, and feet - and not sitting at HQ!

So in November Anita reached out to the Inuuqatigiit – Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families, to inquire if the warm woollies we had on hand could benefit their Christmas hamper program, supporting families in the community. The Centre said they would be pleased to be able to add the hats, mittens, socks and neckwarmers to their hampers, so in December, Anita and I masked up, sorted, and brought them into the Centre (we drove there with all the windows down for ventilation - fortunately it was only around zero Celsius!).

I waited to post this until we heard back from the Centre, once their busy time managing the hamper program was over. The staff have passed on their thanks and gratitude for your wonderful knits, and shared that the recipients were very happy to receive them as well.

So while we are still on hiatus until we have more certainty, we are very happy that some more beautiful knits went out into the world, to be gifted to families and children in time for the holidays, and to share some cheer and warmth during these difficult times for so many.

Please continue to hang onto your items at home, and/or do feel welcome to share your knits with other organizations receiving items at this time. Hopefully in time we will have more certainty with our operations! But we are thrilled that we got one more delivery out in 2020.

I hope that everyone is keeping warm, safe, happy and healthy! And I hope that all the generosity, warmth and compassion that you put forth into the world returns to you in 2021. Happy knitting, and here’s to less challenging times for all of us this year!

Monday, August 24, 2020

August Update

Hello Friends of Warm Hands!

We hope you are all safe and well.  Thank you to everyone for your support of Warm Hands and your inquiries on when we will be receiving items again. We know you are eager for things to get back to “normal”, and we are too! However, we are not there yet.

It has always been a challenge for WHN to balance out our supply (of your lovely handcrafts), shipping & distribution, and the needs of our partners. Under normal circumstances, that balance works out. However, COVID-19 has disrupted that balance, impacting our shipping and distribution chains (and even our Packing Nights). We are also being exceedingly cautious before starting to work again with many of our usual partners, which are largely vulnerable populations.

For these reasons, we ask that you continue to hold on to your WHN items for now. Please do not ship to us at this time. The last thing we want is for your lovingly made handknits to be sent to us, and for us to be unable to distribute them in a timely manner.

If you are looking with alarm at a growing pile of handknits taking over a corner of your home and wish to get them sent out, you are of course welcome to share them with another organization accepting handknits. There are so many worthy causes deserving of your work, and we all have the same goal - of helping to keep each other warm. Of putting mitts on a child, a blanket around someone who needs a hug, socks on cold feet.

We are working to connect with new partners to see what may be possible, and will keep you informed as we know more. Thank you to everyone for your support of Warm Hands! Keep knitting, and stay safe.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Catching Up!

Hi Everyone, it has been a little while since our last update!

First of all - With regard to our next mailing date: in view of the social distancing measures in place across the country, we don’t want to put anyone in the position of making trips to the post office at this time.  Please feel free to continue to craft for Warm Hands, but we ask you to hold on to your knits and crocheted items for the time being. We will post a new mailing date when it is appropriate.

As well, THANK YOU to all those who made slippers for the campaign for Larga Baffin, they were so pleased at the quantity that we shared with them in December.  A large number of beautiful blankets were also shared with Larga, which were received with pleasure as there were a few new babies in residence!

I also want to share with you that we have a new northern partner,  Kugaardjuq school in Kugaaruk, Nunavut!  The school has 375 students (K to12), but has asked us to focus on socks and hats and extra-warm mittens for their 157 students in grades K to 4 (ages 5 to 10).  We have two boxes en route to the school, and do expect to send them another shipment with their requested sizes once we hear back from them and get their feedback.

Lastly - big thanks to all of these generous crafters below, whose parcels have arrived in Ottawa since my last update:
Karen from Saskatachewan
Jackie from WA
SL from Maine
Lizzie from AB
Wentheknitter Ottawa (2)
Marcia from Loretto ON
Christina from Kemptville ON
Laura from Abbotsford BC
Sandra from Nelson BC
Rita from Mississauga ON
Janet from Fredericton NB
Wendy from Smoky Lake AB
Dr. Peg from Midland ON
Anna from Morrisburg ON
BS from Toronto ON

Thank you for your support of Warm Hands, and take care everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Ending 2019 on a high note!

Sovereign's Medal Awarded to WHN Volunteers

Hi everyone, I have some wonderful news to share with you! The Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers is a Canadian national award that recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields, and pays tribute to the dedication and commitment of volunteers. It is the highest honour for volunteer services that an individual can receive within the Canadian Honours System.
I am beyond delighted to share with you that our tireless volunteers, Anita, Suzanne and Carlene were awarded this high honour in 2019 for their exceptional leadership and contributions to the Warm Hands Network since the group started over 12 years ago. The medal is intended to help shine a spotlight on extraordinary people who are working to build a better country - congratulations to these three amazing women who are doing their part to do so!
Between the three of them, they make sure the logistics of the network have been running for all these years, including connecting with and maintaining the relationships with our northern partners; working with our shipping sponsor airline Canadian North and getting our shipments to the airport; picking up your warm woollies from our amazing local yarn stores; doing outreach and promotion so that folks know about the network; running the website and blog; and so much more.
Anita received her medal at a ceremony in Ottawa this fall and when she told us about it, she was emphatic in saying that “it takes a village and WHN works because of the whole network of people who are involved”. But you know what? Sometimes the village needs movers and shakers, like these ladies, to really pull things together. So please join me in congratulating these three wonderful and amazing WHN leaders for being recognized with this important honour! Ladies, we already knew you were awesome, and we are glad the Governor General of Canada thinks so too!!!

Slipper Campaign 2019

Thank you to everyone who made slippers for our campaign to provide holiday gifts to the residents of Larga Baffin. Thanks to your efforts, over 110 slippers are going to Larga Baffin to bring some cheer to folks who are far from home during the holidays. Well done everyone, and thank you for your gifts to warm many feet, and many hearts as well! Here's what 100 slippers looks like!

Packages Received

We had a quick get-together at WHN World Headquarters on December 14 to organize your many generous contributions that have been coming in - thank you everyone for continuing to share the gifts of warmth from your needles and hooks.  This was not a Packing Night, more of an "Organizing Afternoon". We opened parcels and sorted them, to go through them properly in the New Year (and so that Anita could have her dining room back for the holidays, which seemed reasonable!).

We have received parcels from the following generous network members:
Anna from Morrisburg
Kathy in Montréal
L in Burlington
Janet in Fredericton
Olive in NB
Janet in Gravenhurst
Tracey in Vancouver
Lefebvre in Kamloops
Shirley in Hollister
J. Ann in Granby
JH in Creston
CH in Ottawa
Julie in New Liskeard
Sabrina in Mississauga
Wendy in Smoky Lake
Wet Coast Wools (see previous post!)
Beverly in Toronto
Nancy in Almonte
Helping Hands of Stirling
Bernice, Janet and Karen of Huntsville
Students of Carleton Place High School
Thank you all!!
A few pics from the afternoon, first of all a box of lovely warmth from Beverly in Toronto with a pretty note card for the Packing Team:

The boxes from Wet Coast Wools arrived in record time:
And these marvellous neckwarmers from Shirley in Hollister continue to inspire (look at the little houses! and the snowmen!).

You can expect to see more of the wonderful contents of the parcels you have sent us, after the next Packing Night (this was just a sneak preview!).

In closing, thank you all for continuing to share your skill and time, and the gift of warmth with northern children.  Wishing everyone a very happy winter holiday season and a joyous New Year!! We are excited to be a part of the network with you in 2020!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Yarn Stores are THE BEST!

Hi Everyone!

As knitters and crocheters you probably spend a lot of time in yarn stores and no doubt have your favourites - probably more than a few! At Warm Hands, we love yarn stores too.  Today, I'd like to share with you a great story of a wonderful yarn store, Wet Coast Wools in Vancouver, that held a very special event for the Warm Hands Network at the end of November.  Glenda, the owner of Wet Coast, sent us this write-up of the event, below, so I will let you tell you in her own words all about the magic that took place!

Wet Coast Wools is a yarn store located in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC. We have been fans of the Warm Hands Network for many years, and particularly like that the donated items can be made from 100% wool.  Kelsey and I have personally donated items in the past, but decided we wanted to do a more formal campaign to bring awareness to this great organization, as well as to collect donation items.

We decided to hold a 12-hour Knit-In on Black Friday weekend, to help get people into the spirit of the holiday season. We advertised the event at our store beginning in late October and discussed it on our Wet Coast Wools Podcast (available on YouTube). One of our viewers, Victoria, is manager of the Starbucks at Oakridge Mall in Vancouver; she heard about our Knit-In and very kindly arranged for Starbucks to provide us with a large carafe of coffee for the event. Kelsey baked cookies and cupcakes, and several other knitters also brought snacks and treats. We would not be short of energy for this event!

Doors opened at 9am on November 30th, with four knitters showing up almost right away.
 By mid-day, we were up to 20 knitters spread over two seating areas – as one person would leave, another would show up to take their place. Many of our knitters were regular customers, but we also welcomed numerous people who don’t typically attend our weekly knitting groups. Everyone was busily working away on their items, catching up with friends, and making new ones along the way.  In addition to the "in-house" knitters, we had dozens of people who stopped in to contribute their knitted items.
 Our initial goal for the Knit-In was 100 items. A week before the event, we had already collected 37 items, so it only made sense to increase our goal to 150 items.  Half-way through our Knit-In, we were up to 123! With each item, we added a piece to the mittens on our poster, tracking our progress throughout the day.
As 7pm rolled around, we were 4 items short of our goal, and trying to knit faster to see if we could make it. We had 5 knitters left, 2 of whom had been there since early that morning. Just in time, a new knitter arrived with 5 items to contribute. Success – we had reached 151 items!  With the pressure off, Kelsey and I used the last hour of the Knit-In to organize the items by type and lay them out for photographs.

A few more items arrived in the days following our Knit-In, mostly from people who didn’t quite have time to finish their projects on Saturday. We sealed up the boxes with 170 items (about 25 pounds) in total!

Dark sky stripes 
Our Knit-In was a great success, and we are so happy to be able to contribute these items to the Warm Hands Network.  We hope that the items will all find happy homes, and that they will bring warmth and comfort to their recipients.

Glenda, Kelsey, and the crew from Wet Coast Wools

Glenda and Kelsey: we can't thank you enough for your energy, enthusiasm and generosity in taking the time to plan and deliver this wonderful event.  And please pass on to all your knitters and crafters our thanks for their time and thoughtfulness in making and donating so many lovely garments and warm accessories.  I love that you transformed Black Friday - often a day of over the top consumerism - into a day of community-building and sharing.  Thank you all!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Yarn Canada Giveaway - Apply by December 31

Good Day, Crafters of WHN! Yarn Canada has launched their third annual yarn giveaway. Those knitting for good causes are invited to apply for a chance at winning a donation of yarn.
From their website:
“We’re Giving Yarn to Your Good Cause
We know so many wonderful people knit and crochet for good causes. We’d love to hear your stories and help out!
We’ve partnered with Bernat Yarn and Patons Yarn to give 12 individuals and groups a total of $2000 worth of yarn to use towards their good works.
Since we get requests from all over, and we’d like to do something nice for our neighbors, this is open to Canadians and Americans.
Here’s the yarn we’ll be giving away:
1 x $500 of yarn to a Canadian group who knits or crochets for a good cause 
1 x $500 of yarn to an American group who knits or crochets for a good cause 
10 x $100 of yarn to Canadian or American individuals or groups who knit or crochet for a good cause.”
Deadline is December 31, and don’t forget to indicate a preference for yarns from animal fibres to boost the warmth factor.  WHN has already been entered as a group, so be sure to enter as an individual if this is of interest (because we all need more yarn, am I right?). Thank you to Yarn Canada for this generous giveaway, and for reaching out to us to make sure our crafters were informed of this opportunity!
Good luck!!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Autumn Update!

Hi Crafters of Warm Hands, checking in with a quick update for you on what has been going on at WHN World Headquarters!

Most importantly - a HUGE shout out and thank you to Canadian North, our airline sponsor, who handled our boxes for Jimmy Hikok and confirmed their support for WHN for another year.  Without Canadian North we couldn't get our warm woollies to our northern partners - thank you Canadian North for another year! We literally could not do this without you!

Reminder that our slipper campaign for Larga Baffin is still on and running until November 20. So there's still time to whip up a pair or two of slippers and pop them in the mail!  For all other items, please time to arrive by December 20 and we will sort and repack to go to Iqaluit early in the new year.

As well, parcels from the following fabulous crafters have arrived at Headquarters between October 6 and 25:
S from Stirling ON
Tracy from Vancouver BC

N from Fergus ON
Nicole from Toronto ON
Lynn from Selkirk ON
Susan from St Lazare de Vaudreuil QC
Ellen from Baden ON
Olive from Moncton NB
A parcel from CH 
Janet from Fredericton NB
Anne from Victoria Harbour ON
S from Nelson BC
A package from Parksville BC
J from Halifax NS
Jackie from West Richland WA
Thompson of London ON
PurlsofWisdom Ottawa ON
Wentheknitter Ottawa

Thank you all!

WHN mascot Trinny wants you to know that all items have the Trinny seal of approval!