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Knitting needles in hand, group of South Okanagan seniors donate blankets to Mamas for Mamas

Margaret Anderson, left, of The Hamlets Penticton has a laugh with fellow residents, from left, Jean Grainger, Hannelore Lubben and Wilma Hornby. The women recently created some special blankets they donated. Mark Brett / Penticton Herald

So just what do you do with hundreds of surplus, hand-crocheted washcloths? A group of Penticton women had just the ticket.

The ladies, all residents of The Hamlets at Penticton, recently armed themselves with knitting needles and crochet hooks and went to work making blankets.

The beneficiary of their generosity was an Okanagan charitable organization, Mamas for Mamas, which supports mothers and caregivers in crisis who are facing a variety of poverty-related struggles.

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“The South Okanagan Women in Need Society had whole bunch of washcloths and wanted to give them to us,” said Hamlets’ recreation manager Carolyn Denise.

“I thought we could bring them in and people could take them, but these ladies (residents) had another plan; to sew them together.

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“They wanted to make these wonderful blankets and give them back to the community so someone else could benefit from them. They just wanted to give back.”

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Denise just happened to meet somebody from Mamas for Mamas and it seemed like the perfect match.

“Homemade blankets are special because they come from the heart,” said Denise. “The ladies said specifically if there are young women out there who need them, we would like them to have the blankets.”

According to Melanie Welechenko, resource coordinator for the Penticton branch of Mamas for Mamas, recipients of the blankets were especially happy.

“They (recipients) are reminded there are people in their community that care about them and their families,” said Welechenko. “Receiving something handmade when you may not have much of a support program adds that touch of humanity and connection that we seek to provide our families in the South Okanagan.

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“We share with families where the blankets come from and they love that they’ve come from another generation of Mamas.”

Wilma Hornby was one of the volunteers putting the washcloths together, usually working on the blankets when she was watching a baseball game on television.

“We’re here in a safe place and lots of these women who got the blankets are not,” said Hornby.

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Margaret Anderson also helped stitch the pieces together.

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“We just had a whole pile of squares (material) sitting there and it looked like something really important should be done with it,” she said.

“We really didn’t know much about them (Mamas for Mamas) but when we found out about the group. It was just great they were helping other people so we wanted to help them.”

Many of the same women have also volunteered to help others in the community, including evacuees from the recent Keremeos Creek wildfire.

“I am just so proud of these ladies for wanting to give back to the community,” said Denise. “This is something they truly do from the heart.”

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