As she watched a group of students at Britannia elementary wrap hand-knit scarves around their necks and pull warm toques over their heads, Wilma Moir became a little teary-eyed, especially when the children sang her a song of thanks — complete with hand actions.
Moir was at the inner city school Thursday morning to help present more than 200 hand-knitted scarves and toques, as well as purchased gloves and mittens, to the entire school starting with the kindergarten class.
“I’m not a great knitter,” Moir admitted to the Courier earlier. “But I do scarves well.”
Moir was inspired to help the school after her husband returned home in April from a meeting of the Vancouver chapter of the Gyro Club and told her about a presentation about the school’s needs by Britannia principal Ian Cannon and kindergarten teacher Nicky Mey. The Gyro Club is a social organization for men found across North America with a focus on family, friendship and community service. Since then, Moir and several other women have been knitting, with Moir completing more than 100 scarves on her own.
“When I heard about the school, I knew I had to do something,” said Moir. “So I called and asked how many they’d need.”
Mey remembers telling Moir the school had 190 kids. “To which she answered, ‘No problem, when do you want them by?’” Mey said.
She told Moir it would be ideal if the scarves and toques were finished by the time the cold weather set in. “And lo and behold, the scarves and toques are ready,” said Mey.
Mey was inspired by Carrie Gelson, a Seymour elementary school teacher who last year wrote a letter to the Vancouver Sun about her inner city school and the needs in her community. In the impassioned letter, Gelson wrote about the fact many students were arriving to school hungry and lacked basics such as clean socks and shoes without holes. Gelson’s letter went viral and the response was instant. Mey said it wasn’t just Seymour elementary that benefited from the letter and in response Walter Swanson, the owner of nearby Lee’s Transmissions on Hastings Street and a Gyro Club member, stepped up with an offer to make a cash donation to Britannia, which was matched by the club.
Also on hand at the presentation was Gryo Club of Vancouver president Peter Howes and a beaming Swanson, who told the Courier he was delighted to be there. Howes said the group was impressed by what they heard from Mey and Cannon.
“The club feels very strongly about education,” said Howes.
In an email to the Courier, Mey wrote, “I am hoping that this heartfelt story will be something that our community hears about. There are lovely people in the world that are doing things to help out the kids in our community. The giving continues.”
The highlight of the event followed the presentation when a young kindergarten student put up his hand to ask a question.
“Can I wear these when I go skating tomorrow to keep warm?” he asked.
“These are yours to keep,” Mey told the boy.
He was delighted.