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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I had to keep a secret recently....

Regular readers would remember that the knitting group that I belong to, Knitting for Brisbane's Needy (K4BN) have a member challenge at the beginning of the month. The idea of the challenge is to build up supplies of warm knitted and crocheted items. There are 2 members, Rosanne and Sonja, who are known as the challenge ladies; they decide what the challenge will be and this is kept a secret until closer to the first weekend of the month. Now I knew what the August challenge was going to be a week before it was announced,  and I had been sworn to secrecy. So how come I was so privileged to know the big secret beforehand???? It all started like this...

The Sunday before last, I slept in...I thought I might skip church as a result. But some how I found myself getting dressed and heading off to the 9.30 service. Well... instead of a sermon that day, we had a guest speaker from the Mission to Seafarers. Our parish, like many others, has always supported this group. Marcia, the guest speaker, spoke of the work that the mission does (on a shoestring ) and then she mentioned that many of the ships that dock at the Port of Brisbane, are heading south where it can get pretty cold. The Mission distributes beanies and can't keep up the demand...well naturally my ears pricked up at that. I spoke to Marcia after the service and said I would speak to Karen, the organiser of K4BN, to see if we had any 'spare' beanies we could give the Mission. 

Port of Brisbane

Later I emailed Karen and the 2 challenge ladies. Within the hour it had been decided that not only would the group help with providing beanies, but it would be our August challenge. The enthusiasm of the lovely members when the challenge was announced last weekend is inspiring...not only will beanies be knitted but a number of the ladies are making fingerless gloves, scarves and beanie sets.

I had emailed Adrian, who is the manager of the Mission here in Brisbane, telling him what the group planned.  He wrote such a lovely email back to is an excerpt from that email....

'I have been with the mission for 6 years, 3 as a volunteer and 3 now as manager.
The beanies were the first and original free item issued to seafarers by our mission - we also now give clothes, magazines and books to sailors.
For a sailor, a beanie is like an adult's security blanket.  I have one good sailor friend who has been at sea for 20 years.  He's a Brit, and still has his original beanie, he doesn't remember which mission he got it from (or) who would have knitted it for him.  But he cherishes it.  He even wears it with pride when he is back home, on a night out with the lads.  People will ask, which football team the colours denotes - he tells them that it's not a football beanie, and tells the story of the "beanie brigade".
So beanies are an important thing - at sea, with a short-hair cut - your old noggin can get a little cold - especially if you have a buzz-saw haircut.  Even in Australia, during summer you head can get cold!  So a beanie is bloody brilliant. 
We can do with scarves, gloves and beanie combo sets - they would all go down a treat.
Any season in Australia - our beanies go.  I have just returned from Vietnam, and found a huge amount our our beanies had gone.  I would easily say more than five hundred!  Each year, since I've been a part of the Brisbane Mission - beanies, gone each year have been 2 thousand or more.  It is really quite something.'

So I guess I was meant to hear Marcia's talk! The photos in this post are from the Mission's webpage and they show some of the services that are provided to sailors. These services include, internet and phone access, free tea/coffee, free bus service to local shopping centre, free pool tables and games room, free TV and of course, free beanies and other clothes.


Dorothy said...

What a wonderful cause - good on K4BN to be able to help with the beanies. Sounds like your challenges are fun. xoxox

kaiteM said...

That's a wonderful story Maria, it warmed my heart to hear about the Mission giving beanies to the seafarers. As a child who roamed the docks of Hobart i often walked past the Mission there and wondered what they did.

Susan said...

How kind you are. I love the happy looks on the mens' faces as they choose their beanies :D)