Earlier this month, Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) presented hundreds of scarves, beanies, booties, and blankets, to Wollongong’s Vinnies Van Coordinator, Kelly McCrohon. Each knitted item was lovingly handmade by students, staff, extended members of our school communities and Catholic Education staff, as part of CEDoW’s inaugural KNIT4NEED Challenge—supporting marginalised members of our local community who suffer from homelessness.
Ms. McCrohon was overwhelmed by the number of items presented and stressed that every donated item would be put to good use. She noted that at this time of the year, people who are homeless often require their clothing and bedding to be replaced several times a week. Ms. McCrohon was particularly excited that one of the items, a beautiful crocheted blanket, would be perfect for a newborn baby girl who is part of the Bellambi community.
Many heartwarming stories have emerged from this challenge, including primary school students from all age groups knitting and chatting away together, intergenerational members of families knitting together and teaching each other how to knit and others passing the time knitting in the hospital while visiting loved ones.
The knitter who produced the longest scarf is suffering from brain cancer and as a result, has lost the ability to do many things she used to do easily. Once an excellent knitter, when invited to take part in the KNIT4NEED challenge, she picked up the needles and much to everyone’s delight—including her own—she was clicking away in no time. This star knitter is now teaching her carer to knit.
Yvonne Keary, a Vinnies Van volunteer, shared the story of a young woman and her daughter who were delighted to receive a beanie and scarf to help keep them warm, along with a hot meal, when visiting the Vinnies Van one cold, wet evening.
“I recently witnessed first hand the true appreciation of the fruits of everyone’s labour, said Mrs. Keary. “The smile on the young girl’s face while donning her new winter apparel will be an image that remains in my heart forever. It was a perfect fit.”
David Gearin, CEDoW Social Justice Education Officer, thanked all those involved in the challenge for their generosity and commitment, highlighting the overwhelming response from school and CEO communities.
“The KNIT4NEED challenge is a perfect example of our extended CEDoW family doing something with love to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most,” said Mr. Gearin.
The success of the challenge has resulted in the introduction of an inaugural Colleen Easton Knit4Need Perpetual Trophy, in honour of a special member of staff who was integral to the success of this year’s Knit4Need initiative. Colleen is a woman of deep faith and has been committed to a lifetime of service to others, working tirelessly to support those in need.
This year’s recipient was Colleen herself, in gratitude for her vision, creativity, generosity, and patience in helping create a community of knitters who joyfully knitted scarves, blankets, and beanies for the homeless amongst us who are supported by Vinnies.
We congratulate and thank Colleen for her selfless hard work and dedication, and hope her legacy will provide ongoing inspiration for similar initiatives in the years ahead.