Every year, keen knitters from around New Zealand put their skills to use for people in need in Eastern Europe. And the knitting brigade at Rangiora’s Ballarat Retirement Village is no exception. The ladies, and two gentlemen, have been hard at work all year knitting up a storm of blankets, slippers and jerseys which will be sent off next month as part of Operation Cover Up’s annual shipment.
Norma Whyte is the coordinator at Ballarat and has been involved with the scheme for almost two decades. This year the group had excelled themselves, she said, producing a total of 19 blankets over the last 12 months, as well as two hats, one scarf, eight jerseys and five pairs of slippers. As well as keen knitters, the group had one gentleman wool winder and one expert unpicker who managed to source more wool for the knitters. “It’s lovely. I’ve got one man who knits one peggy square every day for me, and another who is our wool winder. We’ve also had some of the care home residents involved in the knitting too, it’s not just the retirement village.”
Each blanket takes about $100 of wool, so the village residents are appealing to the wider community for donations of spare wool to enable them to continue their good work. The second hand clothing shop on River Rd is also a drop-off point for both material and money, and also for any good quality clothing. Fifty per cent of the money raised from the shop goes towards purchasing wool for Operation Cover Up so any donations are gratefully received. The shop on River Rd is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm. Financial donations are also welcome which will go towards wool. Winter in Eastern Europe can get as low as -25°C and many children and families have little to help them face cold.
The Ballarat group joins hundreds of Kiwis around the country who are involved in knitting, donating wool, fundraising for shipping costs and preparing the items for shipping each year. Operation Cover Up sends two huge shipping containers each year full blankets and clothing as well as a few hygiene items to those in need in Eastern Europe.
Click here to visit Bupa Ballarat’s listing on Eldernet.