Sadie Lewis continues to help Torontonians in need of warmth this winter.
“I was so tired of hearing about people freezing to death on the streets and I thought ‘this is something that I could do’,” she said.
Lewis is the founder and president of a non-profit organization called Streetknit. The service provides knitted items to homeless and needy people in need across the GTA and has been around for three years now.
“I thought I should co-ordinate a group because people want to help and this is a way to give everyone a way to do it,” Lewis said. She estimates that Streetknit received about 500 items last year and about 1500 items this year.
Various yarn stores in Toronto serve as depots, where knitters drop off their knitted items. When enough items come into each store, usually a few garbage bags full,
Lewis collects the knitted items and drops them off to charitable organizations such as Windfall Clothing.
Windfall Clothing then distributes the items to social service agencies in Toronto including Massey Centre for Women where teenage mothers and pregnant teens are housed.
Sandra McTavish, the director of day programs at the Massey Centre sees Streetknit’s impact. She said some who stay at Massey Centre have no support from the community, and no friends or family.
“The really important part about it (donations program) is that our women know that other people really care about them,” McTavish said.
Becky Johnson recently started knitting for Streetknit. She says she started knitting because she gets to experience the comfort of handmade things and wanted to provide that same feeling for others. She is passionate about helping people.
“It scares me; actually it terrifies me,” Johnson said. “The idea of being without somewhere warm to sleep in this city really upsets me profoundly. To me, it’s as simple as that.”
Lewis agrees and adds if she’s going to knit anyways then she should do something useful with it. “Scarves and hats are the most common things that we get,” she said.
For more information about Streetknit go to www.streetknit.ca