Willows student knits clever collection campaign

Five students spearhead drive to gather items for Our Place clientele

From left

Some of those who use Our Place Society will be warmer this winter thanks to five Grade 3 and 4 students at Oak Bay’s École Willows Elementary.

The idea spawned from Kale Lines’ inspiration a couple years ago.

“I figured it would be cool if I learned to knit,” he said. He went on to create toques for those in need.

This year the Lines household received something in the mail from Our Place, said mom Jackie Lines.

Kale built his idea from there, and marched into the principal’s office with well-researched proposal for a school-based campaign to host a drive for warm clothing and blankets.

“Now I’m asking people in the school to donate stuff and it will go to Our Place downtown,” Kale said.

“A lot of people live in shelters, (more than a thousand) people checked into shelters in one night in February last year.”

With a little guidance from principal Wendy Holob he created the five-person team.

Kale, Myles Mitchell, Libby Gann, Max Shaver and Mia shared the statistics and information related to local homelessness by creating posters, reading announcements over the public address system and making classroom presentations.

“I wanted to help people who are homeless,” said Max, a sentiment echoed by the other recruits.

Libby was recruited because of her artistic ability, which she says she inherited from her father, to create posters for the campaign.

“A lot of people on the street don’t have homes, and we want to donate some new and used clothes,” Libby said.

“We want to try and help them. Even a little bit will do something.”

The team collected items at the front entrance daily.

“They’ve been keeping a tally of what they’ve collected,” Jackie said.

As of Dec. 4 they had roughly 16 blankets, 14 adult coats, 28 kids coats, 49 children’s warm accessories, 43 adult warm accessories and 28 assorted kids hoodies and sweaters. On Dec. 11, the group’s gathered and sorted items were to make the trip to downtown Victoria.

Despite the dedication required – extra hours spent at school that don’t include playground time – collecting, sorting and raising awareness, it hasn’t been all work.

“It’s really fun,” Max said.