Knitting up warmth for Ukrainians

Area coordinator Sharman Marsh wants more Bay of plenty resident to knit up warmth to donate to Ukraine via Operation Coverup. Photo: John Borren.


Operation Cover Up once again has lofty knitting goals – and Bay of Plenty needles are clicking to the challenge.

Launching more than 20 years ago, the project unites knitters and crocheters across New Zealand in making blankets and warm clothing for children, families, and the elderly.

Today, the knitted goods go to people living in temperatures as low as minus-25 degrees Celsius in Eastern Europe.

Area coordinator Sharman Marsh says about 70 ladies in Tauranga gathered last year on the collection day to fill six bales of knitted and crocheted goods including blankets, hats, jerseys, slippers and scarves.

“That was more than we’ve ever sent before,” says Sharman. “We baled the woollen items using a 120-year-old manual wool press. It was a fun event and took an entire team of us.”

This year the group is once again hoping for a new record number of donations and is already being helped with the bales gifted by Farmlands Tauriko, long-haul transport provided by Mainfreight and a local farmer who has offered to do the ‘baling’.

“We’ll be using a modern hydraulic system which isn’t as romantic,” laughs Sharman. “But it still takes us a full day to sort, fold and catalogue for customs.”

Groups from as far away as Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki have already sent 15 blankets, and local multi-craft groups are still working hard on their creations.

Operation Coverup is underway in the Bay of Plenty – but more knitters can join the effort to send knitted warmth to Ukraine this July. Photo: John Borren.

“Word about the project and the good we do for people in Eastern Europe is spreading,” says Sharman. “It can take a number of months for someone to knit a bed-sized blanket.

“People are spending hundreds of hours knitting for us and it’s an amazing response that we appreciate so much.”

Sharman says there is still time to get busy and knit something to donate to Operation Cover Up this year.

The annual Operation Cover Up collection is at Lifezone Church, Oak Lane, Judea, on Wednesday, July 3, from 9.30am with a display of donated items and morning tea at 10am. A gold coin donation is appreciated.

To donate knitted items, wool or shipping cost funds before July 3, call Sharman Marsh on 027 245 4034.

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