Everybody likes something made just for them
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/05/2022 (379 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Last month’s Random Acts of Kindness column related the tale of Kyla Simms, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran who has been knitting hats and toques for the Main Street Project and pet blankets for D.A.R.C.Y.’s Arc and the Winnipeg Humane Society.
Reading that story prompted Westwood resident Linda Archer to pick up the phone to tell me about her friend, Diane Geith, who has been sewing face masks and crocheting hats and toques for children at Rossbrook House, a drop-in centre for youth and children at 658 Ross Ave., which aims to a safe space in which kids and young people can have fun, feel safe and are treated with dignity.
“She makes all kinds of different designs, (cartoon) characters and everything,” Archer said. “The kids love them. She started making them for her grandchildren and their friends and now she’s doing them for Rossbrook.”
Archer explained that she and Geith have known each for over 50 years. They met after Geith, who is originally from Sudbury, Ont., met and married Art Geith, who attended school in Russell, Man., with Bill and Linda Archer.
I told Linda that I’d be happy to give Diane a call.
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“I learned about Rossbrook House through my involvement with the Assiniboia Christian Centre ladies’ group,” Diane Geith explained when I reached her at her Westwood home. “We always gave the money from our bingos to Rossbrook House.”
(The Assiniboia Christian Centre was a joint worship space and recreation hub formed and operated by a partnership of St. Chad’s Anglican parish and St. John XXIII Catholic parish. It was founded in 1968 as the first ecumenical venture between Anglicans and Catholics in Winnipeg and was thought to be the first of its kind in Canada. St. Chad’s formally withdrew from the partnership in 2013 and the space is now solely the home of St. John XXIII.)
Geith said that, while she didn’t work outside her home as she raised her four children, she was always active as a volunteer for “all kinds of organizations – cancer, kidney, heart – you name it, I did it. I always enjoyed it.”
She was inspired to start making hats and toques when one of her grandsons, who lives in Beausejour, came to visit while wearing a hat fashioned after a popular animated character.
“That was eight or nine years ago, maybe more, and I thought ‘I could make those,’” said Geith, who will turn 80 this year. “I like to crochet, because it’s faster than knitting, and I started making them for all my grandchildren, and then all my children’s friends and now they’re all over the place. They’re in every province and one of my daughters has international students stay with her while they’re on exchange programs, so they’re even in Mexico and Spain and Germany and Japan.”
Geith loved making the hats so much that she eventually began making regular donations of them to Rossbrook House. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, she branched out to sewing face masks.
“I sent 100 masks to Rossbrook. Thirty for smaller children and 70 for others,” she said. “I found the patterns online, which is where I find all my patterns. I’m not a computer expert but I know how to find what I need.”
Asked how many toques and hats she’s made, Geith won’t even guess.
“Hundreds, I’d say. I started keeping count but now I don’t bother. This winter I made hats and I had some yarn left over, so I made headbands for the girls and I even made little dolls,” she said.
“I do it because I like to do it. The kids like them and the kids at Rossbrook House, they’re just kids and they may not get many things that are new.”
John Kendle is managing editor of the Free Press Community Review. Tell us about random acts of kindness you’ve witnessed or experienced by sending an email to email@example.com
Managing editor, Canstar Community News
John Kendle is managing editor of Canstar Community News, which publishes the Free Press Community Review. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org