Big, big smiles all round

Knitting for Cool Kids delivers packs to school

Shauni James





Donations of snuggly and colourful knitted winter accessories have brought “big, big smiles” to the faces of many children throughout Rotorua this week. The Rotorua branch of Knitting for Cool Kids has been delivering packs with a beanie, scarf, slippers and gloves to the 19 decile 1-3 schools in Rotorua, with every 5-year-old new entrant receiving a pack. Co-ordinator Glennys Kereopa says this week they delivered about 585 packs to 19 schools. She says seeing the children’s reaction when their packs are delivered is absolutely magical. “I was at Rotorua Primary this morning [Tuesday]. They brought all the new entrants in and they could choose what colours they wanted. “There were hats and scarves going on, children saying ‘look at mine’. It was the most wonderful atmosphere and they had big, big smiles.” She says some children in the community don’t often get new items of clothing that haven’t been handed down, because they come from families who don’t have the extra money for new items. Glennys says the Knitting for Cool Kids Rotorua group knits all year round and delivers the packs at the beginning of the second school term every year. “We’ve had some beautiful reviews from the schools.” A couple of reviews have included a Kea St Specialist School teacher saying their young students love receiving the colourful, warm knitting, and a Selwyn School parent saying a huge thank you and that their son was so excited to show them when picked up from school. She says the group always welcomes new knitters, and is also grateful for any donations of yarn and people happy to give time each year to help deliver the packs. Rotorua Primary School principal Fred Whata says the group visited their school on Tuesday morning, where it provided about 45 of the school’s new entrant or 5-year-old pupils with beanies, mittens, scarves and little booties. He says this is the third year the Rotorua branch had donated these items to the school. “We are so grateful. The kids were absolutely stunned, excited and thrilled to put all their new apparel on made by the group. I think their parents will be very grateful too. “I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for the team that has tirelessly worked away to provide excellent, warm clothing for the winter months ahead. In times when there’s a lot of challenges that whānau are facing, to see a gift like this is absolutely fantastic.” He says the school will be giving back to the group with a koha and some wool to help it continue to master the craft of knitting. Those interested in being part of or helping out the group can get in touch through the Knitting for Cool Kids Rotorua Facebook page.