Warm welcome for Syrian refugees
Local craft drive seeks to welcome newcomers to Canada
Local crafter Laurie LeGrow was moved by the plight of Syrian refugees coming to Canada — so much so that she decided to kickstart a campaign to help find the newcomers warm clothes to east the adjustment to Canadian winters. They’ll also come with special tags that will be a bit smaller than this oversized one held by Mae Elizabeth.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how Canadians ought to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Laurie LeGrow has responded by picking up her knitting needles.
“I had read an article written about a lady in Quebec, whose name is Danielle, and she started this initiative called 25,000 Toques, the name based on the number of refugees Canada has committed to accepting,” explained LeGrow, “and I was thinking it was a fantastic idea.”
And so Legrow, founder of Some Good Market, organized a project she dubbed the Some Warm Welcome, whose purpose is to welcome Syrian refugees by providing them with warm, hand-knit or crochet hats, scarves, gloves, vamps, and socks.
She is inviting all local knitters and crocheters to take up their needles and assist her in the effort.
“It’s taken off like wildfire,” said LeGrow. “I have gotten messages from Australia, B.C., Washington State, and from all over the province, from people asking what they can make, where can they send it, how we get it to you, what sizes do you need — everything. It’s great.”
Attached to each knitted item will be a handcrafted tag reading in English, French and Arabic, ‘Welcome to Canada.’ Donors may personalize the tag submitted with their item if they wish to do so.
Donations can be dropped off at any Some Good Market, Cast On Cast Off in St. John’s, the Bay Robert’s Visitor Information Pavilion, any Newfoundland and Labrador public library, or Laurie’s home in Makinsons. All donations will be delivered to the Association for New Canadians, who in turn will distribute the items to refugees as they arrive.
“If all these people are coming and they don’t have caps and mitts and things, well, as a caring community, we’ll do our best to help out in any way that we can,” said Lois Dawe, Bay Robert’s tourism officer, who will be receiving donations at the Bay Robert’s Information Pavilion.
“I don’t knit myself,” she continued, “but I can collect things people do knit.”
“It felt like the right thing to do,” said Jewel Cousens, a Newfoundland and Labrador Collections librarian. “If you keep the heads warm and you keep the hands warm, you keep the hearts warm.”
LeGrow has seen some negative feedback to the project, but she chooses to remain focused on the positive.
“I try to stay away from the negative.”
For more information on the Some Warm Welcome, including drop site addresses, please visit the Some Good Market blog, or, the Some Warm Welcome Facebook page.
Laurie LeGrow, founder of the Some Warm Welcome, proudly holds a life-sized replica of the ‘Welcome To Canada’ tag attached to each article of clothing donated.
Donors have the option write personal messages on their tags.