A love of knitting and a desire to give back to the community have combined into the Granny’s Sock and Toque Drive at the Williams Lake Seniors Village.
Every Tuesday afternoon residents of the retirement complex gather together in the lounge and knit scarves, toques and socks. This program and charity drive was started to both offer residents a chance to socialize and use their hands, as well as provide a way for them to be more actively involved in the larger community.
Marketing manager Alex Froese, who helps facilitate and run the Granny’s Sock and Toque Drive, said that from the months of October to January they encourage their residents to knit warm socks and other woollens for their sock and toque drive. The drive originally was started in a Seniors Village sister facility on the coast with one lady who loved knitting and has since spread across the company to every retirement complex.
“They love it. They’ve formed groups where they get together and knit together, so it’s become also a social thing and a time where they can participate in giving back,” Froese said. “Since they can’t get out so much anymore, it’s a good way that we can encourage them to do good things for their (wider) community.”
By her own estimate, Froese believes they’ve been doing the drive in Williams Lake for the last five years and looks forward to continuing to do it annually. Each year the items they raised are donated to the Salvation Army, who then distributes the warm clothing to those who need it the most in Williams Lake. Such simple winter gear can make a huge difference in the quality of life of another.
This year they raised 75 items Froese said including socks, toques and leggings and assorted other items. Most were hand crocheted or knit by the seniors themselves, though some who are no longer able to knit physically bought items from a store to donate instead. Thursday morning she and three other colleagues donated the items to the Williams Lake Salvation Army, where they were warmly received.
“I think it’s important so that (the residents) still feel connected to the community itself, it’s really important to us that we do things that are Williams Lake-oriented here at the Williams Lake Senior Village so that we can incorporate all of that into their daily life and what they did before they moved in,” Froese remarked. “As staff and residents of the Williams Lake Seniors Village, we love being a part of all the different things that happen in Williams Lake. We really treasure all the different people and communities who come in and volunteer or help take the residents out.”
Read More: Seniors Village brings warmth to others
For longtime lakecity residents like Christina McIssac, Granny’s Sock and Toque Drive remains an integral part of keeping her connected with her church. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba McIsaac came to Williams Lake in 1975 where she worked in Boitano Cleaners before moving to Vancouver Island. When McIssac’s husband passed away, she returned to the lakecity to live with her daughter who has since also passed away.
“Williams Lake, it’s just a beautiful, friendly city,” McIsaac said. “Everybody is so friendly at the (Williams Lake Seniors Village) the staff are wonderful.”
Throughout her time in Williams Lake, the Salvation Army has been an important part of her life and thanks to the group it continues to be. In addition, she loves knitting and finds it very relaxing further enhancing the appeal of the program for her.
“I knit 25 to 30 pairs of socks a year, I donate them wherever I can,” McIsaac said, adding that she also sells her socks at craft fairs through her granddaughter.
For Christmas this year McIsaac said she got 15 balls of wool which she reckons will keep her busy knitting for the whole year.