June Young with a few of the tuques she crocheted for Surrey RCMP to distribute to the homeless. (Contributed photo)

White Rock senior crafts 200 toques for Surrey’s homeless

June Young’s crochet donations began through volunteering with OWL Rehabilitation Society

June Young readily admits two things: she’s a people person and, she can’t just sit still.

These attributes have served the White Rock senior well over the years – and at least two organizations that depend on volunteers have also benefited.

This week, Surrey Mounties were excited to share news of crocheted toques that were made and donated by Young for officers to distribute to the city’s homeless through the cold snap that walloped the Lower Mainland.

The colourful hats, Young said, are what she whips up when she’s watching television, and while she’s been making them for the homeless for about three years now, the publicity her effort received this week was unexpected.

“I never thought anyone would get excited about my hats,” Young said Wednesday, after being showcased on TV news the evening before. “It’s just something I do to keep me busy.

“I’m very happy that they’ve been so well-received.”

Young, 75, has been volunteering locally since moving back to B.C. with her husband Gerald 15 years ago.

The couple returned to the West Coast after spending three years in Geneva and 10 in Paris – among 16 moves over the years – due to Gerald’s work in the banking industry, Young said.

Born in Scotland, Young grew up in Liverpool and learned to knit from her mother when she was just seven years old (many years later, after developing arthritis, she taught herself to crochet). She emigrated to B.C. in 1966, following her parents, who had settled in Kelowna one year prior. Turns out it was a particularly good decision, as Kelowna is where Young and her husband met. The couple have now been married 52 years.

“And we still like other and we still love each other,” Young said.

Young said she discovered the RCMP’s need for volunteers during a visit to Semiahmoo Library shortly after arriving in White Rock. The 1815 152 St. building is also home to Surrey RCMP’s District 5 office.

“I was looking for something to do and went to the library. When I came out, I saw this sign (about the need for community policing volunteers),” she said

In the years that followed, Young routinely spent at least eight hours a week at the District 5 office, lending a hand wherever needed – from helping those who came to the front counter and typing up Speed Watch letters, to sharing information on the various programs at community events.

“It was like a family,” Young said, of the relationships that naturally developed through volunteering with the largely the same group of people.

“We were just like a very well-knit family – we all liked each other and we had a lot of fun. I always worked with the same people, we became very good friends.”

While her hours with the RCMP have lessened in recent years, Young’s enthusiasm for volunteering remains strong.

Now, she spends even more time at OWL Rehabilitation Society, a non-profit that rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured and orphaned raptors. Young became involved eight years ago, and said it’s become a passion.

It’s also where her hats-for-homeless efforts took root, after a fellow volunteer offered her his late wife’s wool. Little did she know the cache would fill eight garbage bags.

“I didn’t know what to do with it,” she said. “I started making hats for the OWL gift shop.”

After discovering she had colours that didn’t work for children’s toques, Young began crocheting hats for the homeless.

She can make up to two in a night, and said the task is so “very, very easy,” she doesn’t need a pattern, or even to look at what she’s doing.

“It’s good for my hands, too,” she noted.

Last year, Young gave close to 100 toques to the Surrey RCMP’s winter clothing drive.

This year’s contribution has doubled, following the discovery of an additional basket of the hats that Young had forgotten she’d made and put away.

Knowing they’re adding a little warmth to those in the community who need it most is rewarding, she said.

“It’s just a really nice feeling to know that they appreciate it, and that I am doing a little bit of good. It’s kind of nice that you can do something, even if it’s only something small.”

Young said she would welcome donations of wool from anyone who finds themselves with extra on their hands.

She may be reached by email, at bjuneyoung@shaw.ca



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Volunteering at OWL is also a passion of White Rock’s June Young. The senior is a bird handler and carer at the rehabilitation centre. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

White Rock man says landlord ‘threatened’ tenants for seeking cash after no heat over Christmas

Porte Realty VP says original notice was harsh and quickly replaced

Leap Day birthday for Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society in Surrey and region

For these ‘Angels on Wheels,’ growth in Surrey area ‘has been remarkable’

Wally Oppal says policing ‘too important’ to be left to the police

Oppal was keynote speaker at a Surrey Board of Trade “Hot Topic Dialogue” breakfast event Wednesday

Surrey skater speeds his way to four golds, a silver at BC Winter Games

‘I just really enjoy going fast on the ice,’ says Barnett Liu, 14

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Cypress Mountain offers free lift tickets March 13 in honour of snowboarding pioneer

Jake Burton Carpenter invented the sport of snowboarding

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Most Read

l -->