A recent donation to the Main Street Project not only leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling in the heart, but also a warm and fuzzy feeling on the heads of the homeless.
That’s because Kyla Simms, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, made 50 tuques and delivered them to the Martha Street support agency.
And Simms said they will soon be getting more.
"As I make more, I’ll still be taking them there," she said. "I’m still making them. I pay for all the wool, but I don’t mind doing it. I like to know people will get them and will use them."
"It’s so freaking cold here, so there are people who will want these."
Making the tuques is good for Simms, too. She first began creating them as therapy to deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder.
She served in the air force side of the Canadian Forces until her 23-year career ended with a medical discharge in 2014. At one point, in 2003 and 2004, she was a member of the peacekeeping force separating Israeli and Syrian armies in the Golan Heights.
Last year, Simms was undergoing therapy at the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ont., and was taught how to use a loom to knit tuques. She said she donated 18 knit caps to other patients and nurses there, before filling up her suitcases with more headwear and flying back here.
"It started as a therapy," she said. "My goal was 50, but I made 68 and I’m still making them. At first it took me two days to make them. Now I can finish one in two hours."
Her friend Sandra Edmondson also learned how to use a loom but "was not as good."
"What she has done is just incredible," Edmondson said. "She is able to help people. She said, ‘I’m going to make a difference,’ and she is. She is out there for the homeless."
Anastasia Ziprick, the Main Street Project’s director of development, said some agency clients have received tuques.
"We so appreciate these beautiful handmade winter hats and the heart-warming story that came along with them," said Ziprick.
"Hundreds of people come through our doors every day and night, most in need of warm winter wear, and these are extra-special."
Ziprick said Main Street Projects and other agencies that help homeless Winnipeggers appreciate donations of winter hats, mitts and gloves. She said anyone who wants to help can go to www.mainstreetproject.ca for donation guidance.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.