Warmth for Eastern Europe’s needy

Operation CoverUP volunteers visit Taieri Wool & Skins near Mosgiel on Monday to bale up a giant...
Operation CoverUP volunteers visit Taieri Wool & Skins near Mosgiel on Monday to bale up a giant collection of knitted goods for shipping overseas. Pictured are (from left) Taieri Wool & Skins staff member Adam Gallagher, Operation Cover Up Dunedin-Mosgiel co-ordinator Suzanne Lane, and volunteers Amelia Lane, Bill Buist, and Sue Wylie. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Keen and generous knitters in Dunedin and Mosgiel have helped people in Eastern Europeans keep warm in winters for more than 20 years.

Each year, Operation Cover Up gathers up two shipping containers full of knitted blankets, hats, scarves, jerseys, cardigans, and hygiene items to send overseas to help keep people in need in Eastern Europe.

Operation Cover Up Dunedin co-ordinator Suzanne Lane has been involved in the project, run nationally for 21 years by Mission Without Borders, for 16 years.

This year, hundreds of local knitters gave time and skills to make the cosy items, which they dropped off in Green Island last weekend.

A pair of Romanian children wear warm woollen jumpers donated through Operation Cover Up. PHOTO:...
A pair of Romanian children wear warm woollen jumpers donated through Operation Cover Up. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Five volunteers, including Mrs Lane, sorted the items and took them to Taieri Wool & Skins, near Mosgiel, where they were packed into bales ready for transport overseas, via Auckland.

Some of the hundreds of knitted items donated by Dunedin and Mosgiel knitters for Operation Cover...
Some of the hundreds of knitted items donated by Dunedin and Mosgiel knitters for Operation Cover Up this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
‘‘Taieri Wool & Skins have been a wonderful support for this project for many years, which we are very grateful for,’’ she said.

Mrs Lane said local knitters had outdone themselves this year, producing more than 100 blankets, 83 hats, 98 sets of hats, scarves and gloves, 130 jerseys, as well as other items.

‘‘This is an important cause considering the lack of social service agencies in Eastern Europe, in places that get very cold indeed in the winter,’’ she said.

Wool, often costing more than $5 a ball, meant that knitting blankets and clothing could get expensive, so Operation Cover Up was always on the look out for wool donations.

‘‘Acrylic knitting yarn would be cheaper, but we only use pure wool, as that is what provides real warmth.’’

It often meant getting creative and using scraps from sales to knit. ‘‘I have seen some ingenious things and some beautiful blankets.’’

Mission Without Borders director Andrew Wilks said through Operation Cover Up, children, families, homeless and elderly recipients learnt that people on the other side of the world cared about their struggle to survive and wanted to ease their suffering.

The organisation works across Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

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