It's been a busy year for many knitters around the Rotorua district as they clicked and clacked their needles to produce items for children in poorer countries.

About 90 knitters have made more than 100 blankets, 280 scarves, 131 hats and other clothing items as part of Operation Cover Up.

The initiative is run by international Christian organisation Mission Without Borders.

Other items which have been collected include fabric, linen, stationery, hygiene products and crafts.

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Rotorua co-ordinator Chris Whitman says the items will be flown to Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Croatia.

She says the Blind Institute has been helpful this year, with one lady having knitted about 50 bears, which get attached to the blankets.

"The people over there are perfectly capable of making things and want to help themselves but can't afford it.

"The trouble is in these countries there are no safety nets for them. There is very little social welfare."

Chris says items get sent over once a year. Operation Cover Up is in its 17th year.

Children at an orphanage in Moldova with some of the blankets produced by Operation Cover Up knitters in New Zealand. Photo/File
Children at an orphanage in Moldova with some of the blankets produced by Operation Cover Up knitters in New Zealand. Photo/File

She is pleased with how many items local knitters have contributed this year.

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"I thought we would start to go down after all this time but it seems to be increasing.

"I know some ladies were absolutely determined to beat last year's totals.

"I send the ladies out a letter once a year telling them how much has gone. I know several will be really chuffed."

She says Operation Cover Up also helps those making the items, as many of them love to knit but do not have anyone to do it for.

Chris enjoys taking part because it means she can help other people, particularly children.

"I have a lot of people come to me - ladies and a few men - who I wouldn't have met otherwise, and it means I've got something to do to keep me focused."

She says the group has received videos in the past showing children using the items sent over.

"I love seeing how happy they are to get a blanket, which is often one of the only things they can call their own."

This year's items will be in Taupō, ready to head up to Auckland, on August 7.

Chris says she is very much in need of wool.

Those who would like to donate wool or become knitters can contact Chris on (07) 357 4204.