By Colin MacGillivray
NORTHERN Health workers praised the power of community support after receiving a donation of knitted beanies, scarves and other items from the Wandong-Wallan Lions Club last week.
It is the second time the Lions club has made a donation of knitted items to the healthcare group, which will use the proceeds from their sale to buy a new chair for fathers to sit and sleep in while visiting the maternity unit.
Wandong-Wallan Lions Club president Marilyn Moore said she decided to donate woollen items for Northern Health to sell two years ago.
The money raised from the first donation was used to buy a defibrillator, and Ms Moore said she was eager to continue the trend.
She received the wool for free after her sister contacted the Wangaratta Woollen Mills to organise a collection of leftover wool.
“We brought a couple of bales back, and I untangled them and sorted them out,” she said.
“Then we went back and got four more.”
Ms Moore organised a group of volunteers, including women from The Elms Retirement Estate in Kilmore, to knit the wool into a range of items.
“It’s been a long haul, but it’s been good because these ladies have had something to do and it hasn’t cost them anything,” she said.
“They only get a little bit of wool, but they manage to work it in so beautifully so that it looks like an organised piece.
“In the first lot they did 460 beanies in just over two months. I’d never seen anything like it. When I counted it I was shocked. It was lovely.”
Northern Health volunteer coordinator Christine McGowan said it had ‘been fantastic’ to receive the donations, which helped raise hundreds of dollars.
“Without the community supporting us, the hospital wouldn’t have a lot of things that we have. We save and we buy things ourselves, but I see the community support as the icing on the cake,” she said.
“They come in, they see a need and they make a difference. I think we’re very lucky, and we appreciate our community.
“Volunteers come together to make a difference to the lives of people, and a lot of people sometimes don’t realise how special it is to give your time for something like that.”
Ms McGowan said Northern Health had a long association with Ms Moore.
“We’ve known Marilyn for years because she used to be a volunteer driver for us,” she said.
“People keep coming back – it’s like a magnet.”
Stephanie Berry, who helps coordinate The Elms’ knitting group, said members embraced the project with enthusiasm.
“We don’t have many in our knitting group, maybe about eight or nine,” she said.
“One of my ladies is totally vision impaired and she’s been making beanies and scarves. She apologised because she could only do beanies and scarves, but it’s amazing she can do them.”
Ms Berry said she already had more charity knitting projects lined up.
“I used to talk to a lady at Beveridge with the [Salvation Army]. We used to make beanies and scarves and she would collect them and they would give them to the homeless,” she said.
“My husband is in Willowmeade [aged care] and I approached their charity ladies, and they’ve asked for fingerless gloves.”