Salvos take over knitting for kids project

Leanne Elsey (left) from the Salvation Army in Byron Bay accepted the many colourful knitted garments from Jill Davis’s “kind hearts and busy hands project”.
Leanne Elsey (left) from the Salvation Army in Byron Bay accepted the many colourful knitted garments from Jill Davis’s “kind hearts and busy hands project”.
When Mullumbimby local Jill Davis sourced a little vest pattern from a World Vision member in Lismore in 2002 to begin knitting for children in need, little did she know just how it would snowball.

Interested friends joined in, and then their friends, and as word of mouth did its thing, soon women from up and down the coast and even interstate were enthusiastically creating all kinds of garments besides the original vests, from beanies and cardigans to rugs for homeless people.

But when World Vision decided it wanted to put its money into other projects, such as disaster relief, rather than paying for items to be sent overseas, the knitting needed a new destination.

Last week at a morning tea in Mullumbimby Jill handed over the project to Leanne Elsey from the Salvation Army in Byron Bay, thankful to return to being “just one of the knitters” rather than the person responsible for finding somewhere to store hundreds of garments and arrange their transportation.

At the morning tea Jill handed over about 1200 pieces of knitting to Leanne, just a portion of the conservative estimate of “somewhere in excess of 5000 pieces” completed by around 75 knitters in the seven years since she cast on those first stitches in colourful wools for a vest for a little orphan somewhere in chilly Mongolia.

Jill paid tribute to so many wonderful knitters over the years.

“They do such a wonderful job,” she said, “and I always think of this project as people with kind hearts and busy hands.

“And I’ve seen over the years how it has helped not just those receiving the garments, but also those doing it – it is a great way of being able to feel useful, and particularly for the elderly and housebound.
“I’ve met the nicest people doing this project, and I’m really happy it’s going to go on.”

Leanne Elsey will now collect and store all future knitted pieces, to go out to those in need Australia-wide and possibly overseas, at her rooms in the Salvation Army Store in the Industrial Estate in Byron Bay.

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