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

United Nations designates Surrey a ‘Tree City’

Surrey is one of 59 cities in the world to receive the designation

Surrey RCMP looking for missing boy, age 14

Brayden Ritchat, 14, last seen in the 10800-block of 141st Street in Whalley on Feb. 21

Lyn Lay calls it a day after 23 years of work at Surrey Arts Centre

‘I’ll still be working in the non-profit sector with the Youth Arts Council,’ she says

In 2019, roughly one person died every three days in Surrey due to illicit drug overdoses

123 people died in the city in 2019, down from the previous year

BC Liberals firing at NDP due to fact new Surrey hospital not in budget

But Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims says business case is needed first

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read