Love our Kids (week 1)

Hi everyone,

Can you believe that it’s the last day of January already?

I hope that you are all managing to cope with this “heat wave” that is upon us at present. I know that some of you will be loving it, while other will be struggling. Either way, it’s probably not conducive to doing much crafting, unless you’ve got some good air-conditioning…

I thought we would start the year off with a bit of an informative promotion rather than a product related promotion – after all “communication” is what Crafty Volunteers was set up to do.


“Love our Kids”

With the shops and advertising in full swing for Valentines day, I thought it would be a great idea to go with the “love” theme, and profile some of the fantastic charities and organisations that do amazing things for the babies and children around New Zealand.

Each week during February and March, I’ll highlight a couple of agencies so we can all learn a little bit more about them – I hope you enjoy reading about them.

Many of the agencies I’m interviewing are Wellington based – so if you know of any organisations around the country that you think would like to be profiled to our members, please drop me an email with their contact details.


Give a Kid a Blanket

Tell us about your charity/organisation.

give a kid a blanket“Give and Kid a Blanket” was started by and continues to be run by Auckland artists Bernie Harfleet and Donna Turtle Sarten and is an ongoing part of their social political art practice. The project started in the winter of 2015 and has run each winter since, starting June 1st each year. The initial motivator was the NZ coroner sighting cold and damp living conditions as a factor in the death of a young girl in Auckland. This proved to be the tip of the iceberg with many thousands of children and their families needing community support, due to their circumstance, to be warm through winter. The project has steadily gained momentum each winter, and relies on the kindness of the community to give, and volunteers who either offer their home or businesses as drop off point for blankets, or to help sort and make up orders at a central base. In 2015 the project had 24 drop off points across Auckland and gave out nearly 1300 blankets and other warmth. In 2018 drop off points had increased to 75, which went from Warkworth through to Franklin and 17,500 blankets were give out plus approximately 5000 other warm items.

What can our volunteer crafters do to help?

While supplying warmth to those in need is the outcome, rather than victimise recipients, the project focuses on the aspect of kindness and the ability for so many community members to make a small contribution that collectively through the project becomes an impactful community action.

We only give out new and good quality pre-loved items. The idea is that folk not only feel warm but importantly valued. We believe in that respect there is no better way to show someone is valued than with handmade items. Knitted, crocheted and sewn blankets, beanies, jumpers etc become an absolute treasure for those who receive them.

We get items to those in need through public health nurses, social workers, St John and other community workers who work directly with these families. We ask to be supplied with some basic information, we don’t ask for names but rather the age and gender of children in a family, how many adults, and importantly what the sleeping arrangements are. This is important as often children do not have their own bed, and there is a lot of bed sharing, floor and couch sleeping etc. We make up a pack for each family based on this information and make sure everyone will be warm. This is then given to the social worker etc, who then take it to the family.

We accept donations (officially) from June 1st until late July. We distribute from June 1st into early August.

A good way to get an overview of the project is to visit the Give a Kid a Blanket Facebook Page.

Items are distributed to those in need throughout the wider Auckland area.

What’s your current need?

All hand made warm items are appreciated, in particular single bed and cot blankets, baby booties, baby socks, beanies (infant to large adults), jumpers etc.

Contact information: Bernie Harfleet – email Please check the Facebook Page for drop off points around the wider Auckland area.


Wellington Hospitals Foundation

Tell us about your charity/organisation.

wgtn hosp foundationThe Wellington Hospitals Foundation is a registered Charitable Trust (CC22921) and is the official charity for Wellington and Kenepuru Hospitals, Wellington Childrens Hospital and Kapiti Health.

The Wellington Hospitals Foundation was established to provide an avenue for individuals and businesses to make gifts to the hospitals. We channel donations of money and goods into different projects where the need is greatest or a specific area closest to the donors heart.

What can our volunteer crafters do to help?

hospi kidEach year The Foundation provide through various volunteer knitters and sewers over 9,000 items for the various areas within the hospitals.

Each baby born, around 4,000 per year, has available to them beanies, botties, singlets, cardigans – all handmade with pure wool.

We also provide sheets, quilts, knitting for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), who have around 1000 babies a year through the unit.

We make for the mortuary a range of suitable clothing and other items for babies born asleep.

Items are requested by the various wards and delivered on a weekly basis.

District nurses and midwives are also offered a range to give out to mothers in the community.

Garments that are surplus or not required for the wards are sold in our Charity Gift Shop and the proceeds used to buy medical equipment.

Any knitted, crocheted or sewn garments for children are grateful received by The Foundation.

We are unable to accept second hand items.

What’s your current need?

We have an ongoing need for pure wool singlets and cardigans for the NICU and delivery suite.

Contact information: Trish Lee (Volunteer Manager) – email or check out their website for more information. Items can be delivered to the front reception desk in the atrium area of Wellington Hospital, or posted to Trish Lee, Wellington Hospitals Foundation, P O Box 7902, Newtown, Wellington 6242.


Charity Yarn Stash

charity yarn stashRemember that we have numerous Yarn Stash Coordinators around the country, who will happily receive donations of yarn to get out to crafters in their local areas, who will make items for local charities. There is always a big demand for pure wool items (especially for babies), and we can never source enough. If you have surplus yarn in your stash at home and know that you aren’t going to get it made into something, please consider donating it to a Coordinator near you. If you know of crafters that are downsizing or shifting into rest homes, please let them know about this group, and explain that their donation of yarn can provide necessary items for individuals in need, and also allows financially restricted crafters the joy of creating and giving.

Please join the Charity Yarn Stash Facebook Group to check out the pics of all the fabulous items that crafters all around New Zealand have been making for charity – just amazing!!


Until next time…

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the great work that Give a Kid a Blanket and Wellington Hospitals Foundation do. Next time I’ll profile another one or two organisations that also do amazing work in their community.

Yours with love, compassion and hope