Tillsonburg woman keeps busy knitting hats for the homeless

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To stay cognitively active during the province-wide second pandemic lockdown, a Tillsonburg Retirement Residence resident has started knitting hats.

“Marge was keeping busy,” said Shelley Langley, director of community relations for the facility. “She started knitting hats – she hasn’t done it in a long time. I said ‘Where do you want them to go?’ She said, ‘Someplace good.’”

“I used to take them to Sally Ann (Salvation Army),” said Marge. “I was knitting them at home in the winter time because you couldn’t be outside.”

Each knitted hat would take three to four days to complete, sometimes up to a week if she had other things to do.

With many hats starting to accumulate, Langley offered to find them a home. Marge wanted to give them to the homeless but was unsure how to do it.

“I was searching on Facebook when I came across a request for some donations to the homeless (on Valentine’s Day),” said Langley, who learned the request came from Matthew King, who had been homeless for 10 years until someone came into his life and helped turn him around. Now King ‘pays it forward’ by helping the homeless. Langley contacted King, now living in Woodstock, who indicated he would be thrilled to personally deliver the hats to the homeless as he visits them through his foundation Heroes in Black (named after Johnny Cash). King also has an organization that employs individuals on social assistance and those that were homeless making furniture.


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“He was quite excited,” said Langley, who then turned to the community through social media requesting donations of yarn for Marge.

Langley’s office filled up with donated balls of yarn, donated crocheted scarves from a lady in the community, and blankets and shirts from Tim Hortons, which were also delivered to Woodstock last week with Marge’s 20 knitted hats.

“I have been overwhelmed with the generosity,” said Langley.

Each recipient of hats/scarves also received a box of PPE facemasks donated by Tillsonburg Retirement Residence.

“We’ve got lots and lots and lots of yarn, and that will probably bring us up to spring, so we’re just about done,” said Langley.

“In the summertime I won’t be doing too many because I like to be outside,” said Marge.

“I really want to thank the community for their donations,” said Langley. “With the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser coming to a close… it is a great time to have these donations taken to Matthew King so that he can get them into the hands that need them the most.”


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