Ram Wools thanks Winnipeg for refugee donations

Ram Wools Yarn Co-op, an employee-owned knitting store on Portage Avenue, is thanking Winnipeggers for donating more than 1,000 pairs of mittens, hats, parkas, and household items to help new refugees settle in Manitoba.

Winnipeg knitting co-op collects more than 1,000 hats, pairs of mitts and scarves

Recent refugees to Manitoba show off their new winter gear collected by Ram Wools in January. (Supplied)

Ram Wools Yarn Co-op, an employee-owned knitting store on Portage Avenue, is thanking Winnipeggers for donating more than 1,000 pairs of mittens, hats, parkas, and household items to help new refugees settle in Manitoba.

"Manitobans have done an amazing show of support for those fleeing war, homelessness, and malnutrition," said Ram Wools in a recent email.

While the haul is impressive, the collection drive is far from over, said Lori Franko, a member-owner of Ram Wools. 

"A lot of people are asking if we're still taking donations and we definitely want to get that message across that yes we are," she said.

The store's goal is to collect 2,000 items for refugees this winter.

The initial idea to collect knitted items for refugees came in November, said Franko. A customer saw a post on the knitting website Ravelry about a Toronto group who was collected knitted items for refugees. It didn't take long for Ram Wools to stitch a plan together in Winnipeg. 

"Within a minute, we had it on Facebook and the donations started coming in," said Franko. 

Settlement agency, Altered Minds, is in charge of distributing the donated goods.

"Our contact at Altered Minds let us know that people were quite excited and happy to get the goods," Franko said.

Ram Wools' collection campaign has expanded from hand-knit winter items to store-bought winter gear, parkas, and household items like plates and cutlery. Everything can be dropped off at the store's downtown location, 989 Portage Ave.

Ram Wools members Devon Sawatsky, Lori Franko, and Jason Loughead on Friday work beside a pile of donated mitts and hats destined for refugees in the province. (Ram Wools Yarn Co-op)