PEI

Summerside woman hopes to inspire others one stitch at a time

A Summerside woman has knit 100 pairs of mittens that are now ready for donating, and has already started on her next project, as part of her promise to her late father to give to those in need.

'Just think of others' is Eleanor MacDonald's advice for people who also want to help

Eleanor MacDonald posted her piles of mittens in the Facebook group, We Love Prince Edward Island, where hundreds of people have either commented or reacted to the photos. (Eleanor MacDonald/Facebook)

A Summerside woman has knit 100 pairs of mittens that are now ready for donating, and has already started on her next project, as part of her promise to her late father to give to those in need.

Since January, Eleanor MacDonald's knitting needles have been busy creating pairs of mittens for the Trinity United Church's annual Christmas tree project, where pairs of mittens are loaded onto a tree for people who need them.

But that's not the only kindness project she's taken on.

"I have knit hats for the IWK in Halifax. I've also done the finger puppets for the little children that go over to have their blood taken — they like to give them little finger puppets, so I've done that," she said.

"Here in Summerside at Elm Street School for the last two years I've made gift bags for the kindergarten classes — so last year we had four kindergarten classes and there was, I believe, 64 children all together, so they each got a home-made hat, a pair of mittens, a colouring book and a package of crayons."

A previous pile of gift bags that Eleanor MacDonald has done up for the kindergarten students of Elm Street School in Summerside the last two years. (Submitted by Eleanor MacDonald)

Now, she's busy knitting baby blankets — all part of a legacy of generosity left by her late father, Edgar Stewart.

"I feel good doing things. My mom and my dad always taught me it's better to give than to receive, and my dad was very generous when he was with us. To me he's my hero," MacDonald said.

There's so much good out there in the world that can happen.- Eleanor MacDonald

"My dad, when I've had relatives that have been sick and stuff and couldn't work, my dad would always kind of go forward and give a little monetary donation to help them along the way a little bit, so I just want to follow in the footsteps of other people who set that example for me."

MacDonald said she's lucky to be in a position to be able to help others, and in a world that can seem dark — especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic — she hopes people can see the light, too.

"There's so much good out there in the world that can happen, and maybe more people will go forward with this and do some more things like this," she said.

Eleanor MacDonald says her late father Edgar Stewart, right, pictured with his sister Reby, raised her believing it was better to give than to receive, a lesson she carries with her still. (Submitted by Eleanor MacDonald)

"I'm proud that I'm able to do things like this. Thankful that I'm able to knit and to crochet and that I don't have arthritis — and I hope never to have it. But just that I can help somebody out there that may be less fortunate, that may need a little something like this just to push them forward, to help them out — it makes me feel good."

Not everyone is in a position to help others, MacDonald acknowledges, but for those who can, she said there are plenty of organizations to offer assistance to.

"Seek out places that need some help. I've knit blankets for the humane society for their pets down there, which is a great place to spend some time," she said.

"Seniors always need blankets, especially in the wintertime, because their laps, they get cool, they don't like the draft. Little things like that — just think of others, I guess, is my main thing. Just think of others."

Some of the knit finger puppets Eleanor MacDonald has made to give to children who need to get bloodwork done. (Submitted by Eleanor MacDonald)

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With files from Sheehan Desjardins

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