March 21, 2019
Madam Speaker, I rise today to applaud the compassionate service of Rossmere resident Helen Hopko. Thirty years ago Helen joined an initiative called Share Christmas and started knitting handmade toques, mittens and scarves to give to those less fortunate.
A former school teacher and Vice Principal, Helen, whose husband of over 60 years passed away recently, now knits daily in her Rossmere apartment.
This may be an odd time to talk about Christmas, but Helen, along with her 6 friends are already knitting so that next winter they can give hats, toques and scarves in area schools, community clubs, social service agencies, friendship centres and resource centres, all free of charge and to anyone in need, and all – until today – anonymously.
Some years they have produced 4,000 items and distributed them through 60 organizations throughout Winnipeg and across Manitoba. Last year, despite recovering from a serious arm injury, Helen and her team had 800 pieces knitted by the end of the year.
By Fall, the spare room in Helen’s apartment will be filled with a host of handmade toques, scarves and mittens, sorted and ready for distribution when the agencies, schools and resource centres begin calling.
While we celebrate the warming temperatures of spring emerging, I encourage us all to consider the work of Helen Hopko and her volunteers who are diligently knitting every day of the year in order to show kindness next winter. As Helen has said, “We need to care more for each other, and often it takes little effort to make a big difference.”
I invite members of this chamber to join me in thanking and congratulating Helen on the thousands of items she makes with diligence and to wish Helen and Share Christmas every success.