Quebecer launches online knitting campaign to help Syrian refugees

With the province of Quebec welcoming 3,650 Syrians before the end of the year, some Quebecers are turning to social media to coordinate help – and tuques – for Syrian refugees.

Thousands join Facebook group, 25 000 Tuques, to knit tuques to welcome newcomers

Thousands of Quebecers are knitting tuques for Syrian refugees coming to the province by the end of the year thanks to a Facebook group called 25 000 Tuques. (Facebook/25 000 Tuques)

With the province of Quebec welcoming 3,650 Syrians before the end of the year, some Quebecers are turning to social media to coordinate help – and tuques – for Syrian refugees.

Danielle Létourneau got the idea to start a group on social media after reading nasty online comments about the refugee crisis. 

"People were really afraid and not that nice in their comments on Facebook and everywhere, and I started crying, to tell you the truth," Létourneau told CBC.

She decided to do something to help make the newcomers feel welcome and part of a "tightly-knit" community.

Danielle Létourneau's online group asks people to knit a tuque and include a message for a refugee. (Facebook/25 000 Tuques)
"To knit a tuque and write a [welcome message] for a refugee — like directly to the person," Létourneau said.

She created a Facebook group called 25 000 Tuques.

The page's slogan is, "Because in Quebec, the only true enemy is the cold."

Overnight, 500 people joined. As of Wednesday, the group had more than 6,000 people.

"I was flabbergasted...I'm overwhelmed."

Létourneau said she's been approached by knitting circles and yarn stores, asking what they can do to help out as well.

Negative reaction sparks positive action

Near Quebec City, a young mother also started a group.

Colleen McNamara, a military wife living on the Valcartier base, is organizing a clothes, toys and supplies drive for the refugees who are coming to the Valcartier base.

She said she was motivated to do something good after seeing a negative reaction to Syrians online.

"I wanted to really change that and make it a more positive reaction. Help them settle when they get here — it's got to be a long arduous journey, I'm sure — and help it feel more like home, even though it can't be home," McNamara said.

More than 100 people joined McNamara's group within the first 24 hours.

Read more: Quebecers respond en masse to call to make tuques for Syrian refugees


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