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Handmade Hugs Society

Cowichan Valley



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Posted by handmadehugs on November 25, 2017 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (495)

We're done! We're done! WE'RE DONE!

With a lot of help, we were moved in less than two hours! There's the unpacking to do but that's for another day!

Thank you one and all for an amazing day!


Moving Day!

Posted by handmadehugs on November 25, 2017 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Moving Day! Moving our totes from storage to our new location. Meet at the clubhouse, go to the storage location, load up, return to the clubhouse. Shouldn't take more than two round trips with two vehicles. We're expecting to start at 9:00 and be done by noon.


The Great Bucket Brigade

Posted by handmadehugs on November 25, 2017 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (7)

So....the cleaning is finished and the primping has begun. Moving day is officially next Thurs (Aug 24th). If you've got a little muscle power you don't mind offering up, join our jolly team of movers. It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to pack up our totes and take them to the site and maybe another two to put it all away. Watch here for more details. We'll post pictures as we go along. The excitement continues! Stay tuned!


Donation Received

Posted by handmadehugs on November 25, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

One of our members, Linda Kemp, entered a "lead well" draw at her workplace. It is to recognize employees who volunteer in their communities. Linda won the draw and named Handmade Hugs Society as her "charity of choice". She was awarded and in turn awarded Hugs a cheque for $500! Thank you, Linda, for your generous donation and the just as important donation of your time. Both are very appreciated!

In the photo, (L-R) members Ingrid Ball, SandiLea Gibson, Monique Lapointe, Fran Whitfield and Linda Kemp admiring the cheque at today's Great Bucket Brigade.


Posted by handmadehugs on August 19, 2017 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (144)

Handmade Hugs Society has had some GREAT NEWS! We have a new home for the next year, a space where we can meet and work and store our supplies too! We are soooo excited! Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available but if you'd like to get in on the excitement early, we're having a work bee to clean and set up the space on the mornings of Aug 14,15, 16 (Mon/Tues/Wed) from 8 AM to Noon. Drop in anytime and lend a little elbow grease -- it will be MOST appreciated. Please bring your own bucket o' stuff (rags, rubber gloves, etc) as we don't have enough for everyone; we'll supply the beverages. The address is 2008 University Way -- look for our signs, we'll be easy to spot.

APR / MAY / JUN 2017

Posted by handmadehugs on August 19, 2017 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (24)

Our 7th annual Hug-A-Thon was held April 8th and has been deemed a success by all. We had approximately 40 people come to volunteer as well as a few Lookie-Lous. But as much as what we do is based on our willing volunteers AT the Hug-A-Thon, this year in particular proved that we also have amazing, dedicated volunteers behind the scenes as well. Spouses, family members and friends all worked to make our event a success. We had a few too many injuries for my liking (a couple of wounded shoulders, a couple of strained backs, a few mashed fingers, lots of sore feet and legs) but my point is, everyone worked together for a common goal and the goal was to help Handmade Hugs help others.

~ ~ ~

Along with what was going on at Mellor Hall, we collectively moved out of our Lake Cowichan storage units and into the new downtown Duncan storage location. Aside from the obvious trucking of inventory, there were shelves to be dismantled and removed, stairs to be schlepped up and down and up and down, inventory to be sorted, and on and on and on.

But we’re moved in so one hurdle done. Now we can focus on the present; we’ve plans to make for this year, goals to reach for this year and expectations to exceed for this year, so let’s get started.

~ ~ ~

With one meeting left before our official summer holiday time, it seems the Spring has just flown by. May was a little hectic and the first part of June will be busy as well but then we don’t meet again until September 9th; it seems a long way away but I assure you, it’s not. I encourage you to take a break from anything to do with Hugs. Of course, I won’t ask you to stop things that you love to do, like stitching or sewing, but I am suggesting that anything that even vaguely resembles a chore be put away until September. We all work very hard for Hugs and, just as with any wearying task, we’ve earned and need our rest.

However….we have one more Group Hug, Sat. June 3rd, before the break so we’re going to put the time to good use. So far, our focussed work bees have produced enough quilt tops, pillowcases and kit bags to make it through the year. (You guys are simply amazing!) So this work bee our sewing crew will be focussing on cutting and ‘kitting’ the rest of our needed pajama bottoms and our stitchers will continue creating slippers and mitts kits so we’re ready for the sewing and stitching marathon that always happens in the Fall.

If you need supplies, please stop by to pick up what you need or email your requirements so we can make arrangements to get it to you.

JAN / FEB / MAR 2017

Posted by handmadehugs on August 19, 2017 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

We had a very successful AGM and now have a new Board of Directors. They are:

  • Co-Presidents Julie McClure & SandiLea Gibson
  • Treasurer Tracy Clements
  • Secretary Not Yet Decided
  • Exec Director Monique Lapointe
  • Exec Director Fran Whitfield
  • Exec Director Cathy Schmidt
  • Director Ingrid Ball
  • Director Helen Lainchbury
  • Director Wendy Fielding
  • Alt Director Linda Kemp

Thank you to all who came forward for nomination; I’m confident you will enjoy your term.

~ ~ ~

This is a new year in many, many ways. It’s not only new in the obvious ways (like dates and emptied inventory bins) but in other, less obvious ways. For example,

  • for the first time ever, we had enough nominees for the AGM to fill our Board at the first meeting of the year and the majority of those new Board members are new (or almost new) to Handmade Hugs in general.
  • We have a new Board configuration with the new Co-Presidency.
  • We’re in the process of moving to a new storage facility, leaving the space we’ve had since we first grew to the size where we needed extra space.
  • We decided last year that we were going to focus on strip quilts but this is the first year where the ONLY quilts we will be prepping and sewing are strip quilts.
  • This is the first time we won’t have to purchase more of either fabrics or yarns in preparation for the Hug-A-Thon

I’m sure there are many more firsts in store for us but you get the idea!

The other first that presents itself is the number of first-time recipients we have for our Hugs items. Our distribution numbers show that the need is increasing by significant amounts every year. Historically, we’ve hit quantity “firsts” every single year that we’ve done our Winter Woollies disbursement.

Following that example, we can expect that this year will be another “new” and higher disbursement total. We will need to use all of our new resources to introduce Handmade Hugs to new people and places. We will need to expect the unexpected as far as production and distribution by increasing our volunteer numbers and our production numbers in order to be prepared for the almost-assured increase in clients.

To that end, let’s make the up-coming Hug-A-Thon the biggest and best ever!


Posted by handmadehugs on February 11, 2017 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

OCT / NOV / DEC 2016

Posted by handmadehugs on February 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (17)

Excerpted from our President's Message for October:

September is always a transitional month, both personally and with all things Hugs. We come off the summer hiatus and immediately start gearing up for the winter, for year end and then swing full speed ahead into the new year when the loop begins again. And while September is the transition, October is the launch.

Prior to the two final Group Hugs, one in October, the other in November, we take a really good look at, an accounting of, our inventory numbers. We decide what items we need more of, which ones have now reached our goal amounts. We prepare our lists and letters, do the planning and prepping for the Winter Woollies distribution day, do the whole myriad of last minute things that culminate when, in mid-December, we’ve emptied our warehouse and packed away the remaining supplies for another year.

I always get a little melancholy in the fall. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because, every year that we’ve done Winter Woollies, the number of requests for help have increased. I feel happy that we have the resources to help but sad that there are so many in need. Perhaps it’s because it’s the end to another year and a time when, because we take a couple of month’s break, we don’t get to visit with our volunteers who come out for the Group Hugs, people I’ve come to care about on a personal level.

I do know, though, that with the melancholy also comes a profound sense of gratitude; gratitude for the things I have in my personal life, my family, my friends, my job, the joy I find in my many blessings (Hornby, sewing, stitching, reading). Gratitude for the generosity of those who support Handmade Hugs year in and year out; Darlene at Creative Quilting, Lake Cowichan Country Grocer, Neiser’s Storage, Thrifty Foods, School District 79 and many others. But mostly I’m grateful for our many volunteers who continue to produce amazing inventory items again and again, filling our warehouse year after year. Some of these people come to every Group Hug or event, some we never see but who drop off bags full of finished items time and again.

We are so fortunate to be able to rely on these wonderful people to be willing – and able – to help their neighbours in times of need. I’m grateful too for our Board members who are selflessly giving of their time (so much more than just meeting times!) to make sure that everything runs smoothly from month to month, all year long.

And so, as we work our way through the fall months, heading towards the busy time of Winter Woollies and into the quiet time that follows, we can all take pride in what we’ve accomplished, in how many lives we’ve touched. We’ll know soon just how many numbers we’ll need this year and whether it’s more or less than we served last year, know that we’ve made a difference and whether that gives you a sense of happiness or a touch of melancholy, know that what we do matters. Thank you all for your dedication to Handmade Hugs. You make me proud.

~ ~ ~

Oh my, what an exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting way to finish 2016!

The last couple of weeks before Winter Woollies Distribution were full of inventory pick-ups (from Creative Quilting), inventory counting and sorting (at the Warehouse), last minute shopping or collecting the required supplies for Winter Woollies Distribution Day and a whole myriad of last minute errands and chores. Add to that, all the requests coming in and being processed – Whew! But, thanks to our crew and other volunteers, everything got done and Winter Woollies Distribution Day went off without a hitch . . . .well, only one hitch; we had to vacate the hall where we were working three hours earlier than planned (because of the snow warning that was due any minute and expected to shut down the Valley) but we even managed that with a little help from some unexpected sources!

Thank you, one and all. It was an amazing day! The most amazing part, though, was our distribution total, a record-breaking,

3,111 pieces!!

Pat your own back; that is an amazing accomplishment. You should be very proud of what you’ve done for our neighbours in the Cowichan Valley.

We have received letters and cards of thanks from many of our clients. Our exceptionally cold winter has meant an increase in the numbers of people who needed our help and, because of you, your generosity of spirit and your willingness to share your talents, we were able to help everyone who asked. Our cupboards were bare (for about a day!) by the time we were done, but no-one went without. As I said in our last Newsletter, what we do matters; thank you all for your dedication to Handmade Hugs.

JULY / AUG / SEPT 2016

Posted by handmadehugs on February 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (486)

It seems I've been remise in keeping our News section up-to-date.

I'll fix that now.

Our last meeting in June was the start of our summer vacation from all things Hugs, a time when our Board members and volunteers take time with families and friends for some much-deserved dowtime, time to sit back, relax and enjoy some of the supposedly 'simpler' things.

And still, somehow, the work continued. Every week I picked up something from Creative Quilting – donations and finished items both  – and we still have a couple of months to go before the Winter Woollies distribution!

~ ~ ~

Do you remember when we first told you about Bouboule and how proud Mama Monique was of her fantastic find? As we told you then, Bouboule had 'hatched' the first of many Boulettes. These lovely little babies are morphing into toques, scarves, mitts and slippers on the hooks and needles of our talented Yarn Diva and her flock of volunteers.

Since then, Monique has been busy; winding off more and more chicks and now Bouboule is no more. Monique got bags and bags of Boulettes from this amazing donation and work has begun turning each of the hatchlings into something warm and wonderful for our Hugs clients.


The gentleman who generously donated Bouboule asked only one thing, to have something made from the yarn that came about as a result of saving his mother’s project leftovers. Monique was pleased to honour his request. Her gift is shown below, a pair of toques and a luxurious, wide scarf.

~ ~ ~

This summer brought three milestones for Hugs. The first was holding our 50th meeting since becoming a Society. Over the five year time span since our registration, that averages ten business meetings per year and that, in my opinion, should be confirmation to anyone that we’re not just ___________ (fill in the blank with anything negative or patronizing said about any grassroots group).

The second was our media outreach; our Facbook page reached 150 LIKES and we received our first Membership payment via PayPal from this website. We have momentum, even in this quiet-time. We have notoriety too. I’m confident we will continue to grow, continue to be able to service any who come to us for assistance. After all, that was the plan.

Our third milestone was  both an ending and a beginning. One of our founding members, Anne Newman, along with her husband, Dick, decided it was time to 'really' retire and embark on a new journey. Anne has been active and involved with Handmade Hugs even before it was Handmade Hugs. She was among the women I first approached with the idea, the dream, which would become Hugs.

While occasionally Anne and I have had 'artistic differences', we have always looked toward improving Hugs, to uplifting our volunteers, to meeting the needs of more and more of our neighbours.  Anne has sewed and knitted, sorted and sweated, and along with her husband, Dick, cooked and cleaned and carted her way into the Handmade Hugs' history book. Dick's "secret sauce" helped make our Hot Dog Sales successful and he was always willing to lend a hand -- and a strong back -- to all of our endeavours.

I can't say "we couldn't have done it without you, Anne", we probably could have, but it wouldn't have been as classy, it wouldn't have been as productive, and it damn sure wouldn't have been as much fun!  So, Thank You, Anne (and Dick too), for your years of service. You can always have pride when you say "I helped build that", because you most certainly did.

P.S. You're welcome back any time you find retirement boring!