New Brunswickers knitting tuques for Syrian refugees

Some crafty New Brunswickers are picking up their needles and balls of yarn in a growing effort to help provide a little comfort from the cold for the 25,000 Syrian refugees that are coming to Canada.

Organizer says knitting tuques is a way to help Syrian refugees that doesn't require a lot of money or time

New Brunswick is expected to welcome 1,500 Syrian refugees as a part of the 25,000 that will be coming to Canada. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Some crafty New Brunswickers are picking up their needles and balls of yarn in a growing effort to help provide a little comfort from the cold for the 25,000 Syrian refugees that are coming to Canada.

The 25,000 Tuques movement started in Quebec and has been spreading across the country.

The group's goal is simple. These knitters are uniting to create tuques for the refugees that will be arriving in Canada during the depths of winter.

Fredericton's Angela Day started the New Brunswick chapter of 25,000 tuques and said the response has been terrific.

Two different efforts have cropped up to help knit tuques for Syrian refugees. (EVknits/Facebook)
"Crafters are a really helpful bunch of people," she said.

"I think they're always looking to see what they can do to help people out and if they can combine crafting as well as helping, they're usually all for it."

Another group is setting up to accomplish the same task.

Akoulina Connell, the executive director of Arts New Brunswick, said she is working with several Fredericton groups, including the multicultural association, to knit tuques to help the refugees when they arrive in New Brunswick.

She said different groups have offered discounts on yarn to help further the project and others have stepped up to assist in other ways.

"The creative community is pretty wonderful and it isn't limited to professional artists," she said.

"I have a feeling that we are going to have an overwhelming response to the point where we have an embarrassment of riches."

Connell said if the group ends up knitting more tuques than are required for the incoming refugees, they can be sent to shelters, transition houses and other places where they are needed.

N.B. expects 1,500 refugees

New Brunswick is expecting roughly 1,500 Syrian refugees of the 25,000 people who will be coming to Canada from the war-torn country.

Angela Day said the tuque campaign is one way for people to get involved with helping the incoming refugees and it does not involved a lot of money or a huge time commitment. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)
The tuques will come in handy for the hundreds of refugees that are expected in New Brunswick. The temperature in Amman, Jordan, where Canada has set up one of its refugee processing centres, on Tuesday was 16 C compared to –11 C in Fredericton.

Any keen knitters can find more information about both initiatives online.

Day said the first confirmed drop-off location for the 25,000 Tuques campaign has been set up in Grand Falls and more sites are expected to be announced in the future.

The tuque campaign is one way for people to get involved with helping the incoming refugees and it does not involved a lot of money or a huge time commitment, according to Day.

"People may feel they don't have enough money to sponsor a family," she said.

"They may not feel they have enough time to volunteer, but they still really want to help. So this grassroots — literally came-up-in-a-kitchen idea — is something that people can really grab on to and think that it may seem small, but it's something that is meaningful."