Operation Cover Up Nelson Tasman coordinators Eileen Borgar and Elisabeth Vandenberg with some of the donated winter woollies. Nelson knitters have combined to create more than 200 pieces of knitted blankets, booties, beanies and other winter woollies for families in eastern European countries. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Nelson knitters unite to warm children

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A team of Nelson knitters are helping orphans survive the harsh European winter.

Over 100 locals have contributed to the campaign with more than 200 pieces of knitted blankets, booties, beanies and other winter woollies flooding into the Nelson Reformed Church last week and which will be sent to orphanages and impoverished families abroad.

The knitwear have been made as part of a nationwide initiative called Operation Coverup, a charity project in more than 90 centres across the country.

The project was founded in Taupo at the turn of the 21st century after a woman learnt of orphans living in temperatures of -25C with insufficient clothing and bedding.

OCU Nelson Tasman coordinator Eileen Borgar says these children suffer frostbite and respiratory issues because of the cold.

Of the 10,000 blankets shipped abroad annually, Nelson accounts for about 300.

Countries that were formerly under communist rule such as Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Albania are a focus of the project.

Elaine sponsors a family living in poverty in Romania. “They live in a council flat which is one room, no electricity, no plumbing and no heating.”

Elaine says the blankets require quite a commitment. “Most set the challenge to knit one peggy square a day and most blankets have 63 squares. A lot of knitters are elderly, it’s such a blessing for them to have something worthwhile to do with their talents and time.”

Dorothy Fawcet, 90, donated a dozen blankets.

She says she is slowing down, having previously knitted more than 20.

Dorothy was inspired after seeing a young girl with children living in a cardboard box on the streets of the Philippines.

She says, as a Christian, she feels a sense of duty to help the less fortunate.

“It’s just something we do.”

For more information, go to mwb.org.nz