More than 1700 hand-crafted colourful woollen blankets, jerseys, hats, scarves, slippers and socks brightened the Thames Civic Centre last week.
The annual display showcased the hard work of Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki volunteers, who knitted the woollen items for Operation Cover Up, an international organisation that sends blankets and warm clothing to those in need in the cold climates of Eastern Europe.
Co-ordinator Margaret Morritt said the colourful display was a popular attraction each year.
“It’s to get more people interested really, and get a few more knitters, but people just love to come along,” she said.
“It’s quite amazing really, the whole display.”
The woollens are currently being counted and packed into containers before being shipped to Amsterdam, where they’ll be sorted and distributed to Romania, then on to other Eastern European countries.
“It’ll get trucked around to wherever it’s needed in those countries, mostly to poor families,” she said.
The organisation donated the woollens through Mission Without Borders, a Christian mission with about 40 staff in each country who looked after poor families, children in orphanages and elderly who lived on the street, she said.
“So they always know who needs the [woollens]. It gets down to -20 degrees so they’re very much in need of something warm.”
The Thames Valley branch also raised funds to help with the $16,000 cost of shipping the goods to Eastern Europe, she said, so donations of funds and wool were welcome.
“Thank you to the businesses who gave us items for our raffles and thanks to all the women who have created so many wonderful warm garments and blankets to send to Eastern Europe.
“We always need donations but also donations of wool are very acceptable because … wool is quite expensive.”
Knitting the woollens also had a positive effect on Kiwi knitters who donated, she said.
“What we found was it was helping people over in those countries, but it was also doing something amazing for the women in New Zealand because … suddenly they had a cause to start knitting for and it’s just given so much motivation.”
DETAILS: To donate funds or wool to Operation Coverup, contact Margaret Morritt, Ph 07 868 1085.
By TERESA RAMSEY