A close knit community
by Lilianne Fuller
What began as a simple knitting group among friends has blossomed into something very special with a group of women who are literally knitting themselves into the fabric of their local community, and around the world. The women, some of whom live at The Emerald at Elim Village, gather regularly to knit and have fellowship. Over the years the group has grown very closely knit, and every Monday afternoon they gather to share their progress and ideas, and to help each other with various projects. One day, when reminiscing about craft fairs past and present, someone suggested the idea of doing their own craft fair. The idea was quickly adopted and the ladies got started.
This group of women are accustomed to donating the items they make. This is because when Recreation Coordinator Jessica De Los Santos started the knitting group in 2008, she encouraged the residents to knit for a variety of charities. But when the decision to host their own craft fair was made, their knitting needles started flying with even more purpose. They would continue to knit, crochet and loom-knit throughout the year, but instead of donating the items they made or keeping the money for themselves, they donated the profits to a local charity. Since 2015, they have donated the lion’s share of the proceeds to the “Tiny Bundles” program.
Tiny Bundles is a Surrey Food Bank program specifically designed for pregnant moms and families with babies aged newborn to one year. Tiny Bundles’ moms receive a food hamper every week (instead of every two weeks) as well as fresh eggs and milk while pregnant or nursing. Hampers are supplemented with fresh vegetables and other nutritional items when available.
Recreation Assistant at the Emerald, Sheryl deBoer taught loom-knitting to the group and in 2016 she assisted with the second annual sale. She loves the enthusiasm of this group and shares, “Since someone suggested an in-house craft fair, things have never been the same!” This group of dedicated women carefully knit, loom-knit, and crochet throughout the year to prepare for the event. They create a myriad of items including scarves, toques, dolls, gloves, and socks. The sale, called The Christmas Sale, is held every November and is very popular. “Their handiwork has become so well known that more and more people attend every year,” says deBoer.
The group have the global community at heart as well. One of their members, Nan Forsyth, knits beautiful dolls that she donates internationally. In the past six years, Nan has donated over 600 dolls. Children in South Africa, India, Uganda, Mexico and parts of Canada have been the recipients of these beautiful dolls.
The ladies enjoy the fellowship of the knitting group and they love giving back to the community. One woman describes it this way. “It has been a real life saver. This group has given us a true purpose. We feel a sense of pride when we can see all of our hard work going to help the community inside and outside of The Emerald,” shares Judy Aldred.
The words to the Christian song “Your Great Grace” proclaim the Lord’s grace as being present in every situation and circumstance. The words are certainly embodied by the handiwork of The Emerald ladies at Elim Village.