What started as a birthday celebration achieves its own 10th birthday this year: Canadian knitting charity the Warm Hands Network
I asked my friend Rae — my closest Canadian friend — to describe her motherland in three words. Her reply: “Peace-keepers, diverse, and welcoming.”
Few people exemplify this description better than the founders of the Warm Hands Network, Amy and Anita.
Canadian knitting charity Warm Hands Network (WHN) began life as Amy and Anita’s 40th birthday celebration. Sure, they could have celebrated this milestone occasion with champagne and cake. But they longed to do something more meaningful.
So in 2007, they began a campaign to collect 50 knitted items to send to the Innu Nation in Labrador, Newfoundland. The generous donations far exceeded their goal, and they were encouraged to continue.
As of this writing, the Warm Hands Network has shipped over 5,000 items, to the coldest parts of Canada as well as around the world. International recipients include Afghanistan and Mongolia.
Who They Help and How You Can Help
Warm Hands Network knitters help cold and needy families, especially the elderly, women and children, and families. This Canadian knitting charity works directly with local health organizations in the communities they serve to ensure that the items get to people who need them.
Having these handmade items to share offers incentives to the residents to come to health clinics. This, in turn, gives clinic workers the opportunity to assess their health.
Clothing-wise, they need warmth! Vests, sweaters, hats, neck warmers (cowls), socks, baby blankets (35 square inches or larger), lapghans (for community elders), and toys (handmade only) are all welcome. WHN asks that you not send scarves instead of neck warmers.
They also note that they receive many, many hats, but rarely neck warmers. So you might want to consider knitting a neck warmer instead of a hat.
In addition to knitted and crocheted donations, you can send small toiletries, craft supplies, and even old fur coats! (These are repurposed into mitten and boot liners, as well as for hood fringe.)
Be sure to check out the WHN guidelines to ensure that they will be able to use what you send. One thing to notice right away: this is not a tiny baby project! Most babies in the communities they serve are large — think 10 pounds or heavier! So think chubby babies who need serious warmth for their not-so-tiny bodies.
To get more information and connect with the Warm Hands Network, you can look at their website, their Ravelry group, and/or their Facebook page. As you’ll see, this Canadian knitting charity is a thriving group, but they can always use more warm hands.
So if you’re Canadian, a northern American, or just anyone who would like to help chilly needy Canadians (and other needy folks around the world), why not make like a peace-keeping and welcoming Canuck? Join your warm hands with the Warm Hands Network!