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Local gives the gift of warmth to neighbours in need

Samantha McAuliffe distributes 50 hats, headbands and scarves, in Downtown Sudbury

What began as a hobby has become an accessible form of community support for one Sudbury local, with a big heart and a big love of crochet. 

Last week, local Samantha McAuliffe distributed 50 personally crocheted hats, headbands and scarves in downtown Sudbury with the help of her husband Kyle. 

The items were distributed around the Sudbury Courthouse where McAuliffe works and said she would often see people struggling through the cold after her evening shifts. 

These individuals are part of what motivated McAuliffe to launch the initiative she said, but the project itself is something that has been years in the making. 

McAuliffe was taught to crochet by her mother and grandmother at a young age, but she said it wasn't until around five years ago that she began to commit a considerable amount of time to the craft. 

She is now the proud owner of Simply Stitched by Samantha and spends her free time trying new patterns or creating unique designs for friends, family and anyone who happens to stop by.

It was in crafting these mini works of art that McAuliffe built up a sizeable inventory and upon further reflection, pondered how it could be best put to use. 

"I knew eventually I was going (to) donate them, I just wasn't quite sure what I was going to do," she said.  

"Who better to give it to than people who really need it."

It was around this time that McAuliffe said she began seeing crochet groups such as those she is apart of, begin similar initiatives outside of what some could consider traditional forms of giving. 

This was attractive to McAuliffe, who worried her collection was not enough for a particular demographic but wanted to reach a deserving population. Through this method, McAuliffe said even individuals who feel uncomfortable asking for help could benefit from the project. 

The final decision was made the morning of Nov. 11, when Sudbury was issued a cold weather alert in response to below-average temperatures. That evening, McAuliffe and her husband hung the items in sandwich bags along the courthouse fence along with handwritten notes expressing the creator's intention. 

"Brr, it's cold out there! Perhaps you need something warm to wear? If I fit and you like me, please take me along. If not, leave me for the next to try on," as shared on McAuliffe's facebook page with the stamp, created with love. 

All of the items were collected within 24 hours, which McAuliffe said made her happy but equally concerned for the apparent need in the community. 

Many of the recipients were seen wearing the items over the next few days she said, as seen by her mother who also works at the courthouse.

While McAuliffe produced these initial items independently, she said she would be happy to partner with any individual or organization for future projects regardless of the medium. 

She plans to distribute another round of items later this winter and every year after to the best of her ability. 

Find more information on Simply Stitched by Samantha here

Keira Ferguson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Keira Ferguson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

A graduate of both Laurentian University and Cambrian College, Keira Ferguson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter, funded by the Government of Canada, at
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