Opening days at the Knit-a-Square barn in Johannesburg happen on a Tuesday and are always rewarding. With mail arriving continuously from overseas, and quantities of squares and toys brought in by local knitters, we volunteers get to experience something like Christmas every week! This blog gives you a glimpse into what happens after your parcels arrive. I hope to paint vivid word pictures of all the goings-on and to share the warmth we feel when we receive your wonderful contributions. Happy reading everyone!being 

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We LOVED them Christine - absolutely charming !

We are always blessed by the inventiveness and talent of our overseas contributors ... and also the beautiful yarns you all use.  Knit-a-Square volunteer day has never ceased to be a pleasurable experience - a little like Christmas or a birthday - with the opening of parcels and the excitement at their contents.  

We will never stop thanking you ALL for giving us so much joy.

xoxoxoxoxo

This morning at Knit-a-Square we had a visit from three men who came to deliver a large load of yarn for our gogo groups. The men, friends of Vivienne, are from an investment group comprising 19 individuals called Rivers of Prosperity. Each of them make a contribution to the group for a given period and, when their investment matures, they make a donation to charity. We were delighted to be there beneficiary this time around. The yarn they donated is a brand called Charity, a 100% acrylic that is very suitable for crocheting around the edges of completed blankets, especially as it comes in a wide variety of bright colours.
Today's post included eight boxes from the Knit For Life group in the UK. This group, headed up by Elaine Jones and Pam Johnson, is a registered NGO which raises funds via cake sales, tea parties, etcetera, to ship squares, blankets, and other items to Knit-a-Square in South Africa. We receive shipments about twice a year from them, and are always thrilled with the contents. Today's boxes held masses of lovely beanies, already earmarked for a distribution in KZN (more about that later), several beautiful blankets, hand-warmers, and an assortment of adorable soft toys. To all the members of Knit For Life who support us, and especially Elaine and Pam, we send love and hugs!
Nani went out with Themba in the van today, taking 65 full sets of blankets, beanies, hand-warmers and toys to Orlando West. Themba did his own distribution with Mabel last week, visiting too creches. Ronda reported that we have exceeded the 4300 mark in terms of blankets going out this year. This is good, considering we were slowed down in the second quarter when we agreed to help a corporate complete their navy blue blanket project. Never will we do that again, Ronda vows!
This weekend, Athele is heading to KZN with Larry to do a distribution under auspices of Mamma Ntombi's Community Project [MNCP] run by Sandra Pillay. Sandra is an amazing woman of God who works with two massive squatter camps outside Pietermaritzburg. Recently, one of the camps, Jika Joe's, was ravaged by a fire that consumed all the peoples possessions. The MNCP has been helping the residents of the camp with food, childcare, clothing and other items, and we are glad to be able to supply 100 blanket rolls [containing beanies, hand-warmers and toys] for the children. Look out for photographs in upcoming weeks on our Facebook page!
Finally, Ronda told me that she has signed off community service records for several schoolchildren who have knitted squares for Knit-a-Square. The requirement for community service hours means that children are made aware of people who are worse-off than themselves. From our point of view, it also raises awareness about Knit-a-Square among parents, as mothers drive their children to the barn to deliver their squares and see us in action. So inspirational is the experience that women invariably promise to return with more squares knitted by themselves, their church group or their craft circle.

Uplifting news, as always....thank you so much, Leanne.  xo

Pam and Elaine are fabulous!!

We are thrilled that we have been able to help the children of Jika Joe's along with all the other children that KAS and its world wide community of supporters helps during the course of every year.  Isn't it wonderful to know that 4,300 children - this year alone - will be kept warm in the winter and comforted all year round by the knowledge that there are people who care about them.

Pam and I are currently packing another 10 boxes of hats, blankets, squares, hand warmers and toys which we hope to ship around mid-November - our third shipment this year.  Our storage shed is currently overflowing so the sooner we get the boxes packed the better!  We have no idea how many people knit for us - some of it comes from care homes, some from knitting groups and some from individuals who just like to knit to pass the time and feel they are doing something useful.  Whoever they are, we are grateful for their support and hope, in return, we give them a lot of enjoyment.

Birthday Celebration sung in Zulu.  Happy Birthday Liz.

Thank you for sharing the pic and video, Amy.  :))

It is hard to believe that we are already in November! The year seems to have flown by, what with all the big global events taking place. South Africa has had its own share of momentous happenings, including a very important general election in the first half of the year. The event which will go down most fondly in peoples' memories however, is  the Springboks' thrilling win at the Rugby World Cup This past weekend.

It's warming up considerably as summer approaches. Today in the barn, Ronda and I began rolling blankets, beanies and hand-warmers into compact bundles fastened with a ribbon and a toy on the outside. We're doing this just because it seems unreasonable to wrap children in blankets in such hot weather. We'll see how it works. Hopefully, the children will enjoy unwrapping the  bundles. Besides, the ribbons add rather a festive touch!

Athele Came back from her trip to Pietermaritzburg with wonderful stories about her distribution at Mama Ntombi's Community Project. As she shared on Facebook, these children are desperately poor. When the van drew up at the settlement and they realised there were gifts inside, they immediately broke into song. Athele says she was deeply moved by their joy and gratitude. Thanks to all those who are making these long-distance trips possible.

Today's distribution from the barn was done by Wandi and Themba. Their route took them to two creches and one Gogo group. Two big boxes of biscuits accompanied the blankets and bags of fruit for the children. For bags of blanket packs, nine packs per bag, went to the gogos, who will so them up in exchange for token payment.

Ronda reported to me that we have distributed around 4500 blankets so far this year. We hope to reach 5000 by the end of 2019 and, at this stage, it's looking possible. Mabel has a big distribution planned for later this month, and Athele is preparing for one in Clarens, which is a small, picturesque town in the free State. Clarens is known among tourists as an artists' destination, but the communities living in the surrounding Mountains are very under-resourced. Receiving Knit---a-Square blankets, beanies, hand-warmers and toys at Christmastime will be an enormous blessing!

Closer to home, our end-of year plans are as follows: The final opening day for the year will be on Tuesday,  10 December and we open again on the first Tuesday in January. Ronda will collect parcels from the post office on Monday, 9 December with Themba, after which there will be no collections until Monday 30 December, when Ronda will collect with her husband Peter. We don't anticipate and enormous accumulation of parcels because the central Depot near the airport will probably experience the biggest bottle neck, and parcels will filter through in the new year.

Finally, one little anecdote you may find interesting: a steward who works on Virgin Atlantic Airlines has become a regular contributor of squares. His mother lives in England and is an avid supporter of Knit-a-Square. The Stuart, named Max, simply carries a bag of squares on board with him when he flies into Johannesburg, and contacts Ronda when he checks into his hotel. This time, he not only brought squares but also a collection of clothes, shoes and books which we were able to hand out to the board members today. Thanks Max for your generosity!

4500 blankets is amazing! Well done everyone! Is that the most ever distributed in a year?

Here are a couple of today's special blankets.

Attachments:

Blanket from Elaine.

Judith Sullivan's blanket.

Thank you Leanne for all the news re distributions and Christmas/New Year plans.

What great supporters are Max and his Mum?! KASfolk are the best!!

Two BEAUTIFUL blankets.  :))

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