Diane Trepanier is sharing and caring in a different way during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hope resident behind the Sharing n Caring Hope, B.C. Facebook group, which facilitates the donation of household items and clothing to locals who need them, decided to take on something completely new this year. To keep her hands busy and keep herself sane as the pandemic wore on, Trepanier turned her eyes and hands onto a completely new craft.
“I thought I’d better do something because I’m going to eat,” Trepanier said of how she began to crochet just as people in B.C. were being instructed to stay indoors as the coronavirus pandemic began in earnest. “Because I like to snack, so I better do something with my hands. So I opted to do this.”
Trepanier knew right off the bat who would be the recipient – or the many tiny recipients rather – of her crocheted blankets and tiny toques. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Abbotsford Regional Hospital was where Trepanier’s granddaughter, now 6 years old, spent 12 days after her birth. Her granddaughter was two months premature and could not eat on her own.
Trepanier remembers visiting the NICU to see her and seeing all of the other babies in the unit. “It was kind of neat to see (the) twins, how tiny they were. So that inspired me for doing preemie hats,” she said.
Without a background in crocheting, Trepanier consulted Youtube. There she learned about patterns, experimenting and ripping out a lot of stitches along the way.
She says she spent many days ‘getting lost’ in the work, crocheting from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at night sometimes. “You realize ‘Oh, I forgot to eat,’” Trepanier laughed. “It kept my sanity, because you can’t do anything. So it gives you something to do, and I just enjoy it. I don’t think I’ll ever quit, it’s just too much fun.”
Finding yarn was another adventure, with some colours running out due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions that left some blankets unfinished. Some of the blankets and toques have removable barrettes, which Trepanier has spent much time hunting for to get just the right colour to match the yarn.
Trepanier has plans to pump out 20 to 30 more baby blankets and toques before Christmas time, when she will be hand over the donations. She is hoping they will bring joy to the families who will be able to take home the blankets and toques.
“I want to give it to them to brighten their day, because it’s not easy leaving the baby when they go home. I’m hoping that they’ll be happy to have a nice blanket to wrap them in,” she said. “We cried when we had to leave my granddaughter, we didn’t want to, and my daughter, she cried. Once she was discharged, then we just had to travel back and forth to see the little one.”
Sharing n Caring is still running – it’s a project Trepanier said she likely won’t ever quit. “Many times I’ve thought of quitting, because you get overloaded,” she said. “I just don’t have a heart not to.”
For those who are interested in donating, Trepanier said items for teen boys are always needed. Also winter clothing and boots, including work boots, for teenage boys and men are also in high demand.
“Nobody knows where it comes from, who it’s from, never is that shared. And the person that donates is not told where the clothing goes,” Trepanier said of the importance of keeping the process of giving through the group anonymous.
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