As we settle in to the heart of Australian winter I thought it would be timely to share the story of a small non-profit that was established about this time fifteen years ago. Melbourne experienced an extremely cold winter in July of 2004, that was when Ros Rogers noticed how popular knitting had become in winter, particularly knitted scarves, and that led her rally some family and friends and they knitted 180 scarves for those experiencing homelessness. The following year Ros established an official not-for-profit organisation called kogo – which stands for knit one, give one.
All team members are volunteers; with some 5,000 knitters/crocheters from all walks of life and ages ranging from an 11-year-old girl to their most senior being over 100! These wonderful volunteers make a whole range of items including scarves, beanies, blankets and toys, as well as babies and children’s clothing. The finished products are then labelled with a swing tag saying hand knitted with love by kogo. It’s important to everyone at kogo that recipients know their garments are not only new, but made with affection and thoughtfulness from a community that cares about them.
These knitted items can make all the difference to homelessness, people living in crisis situations such as young children, disadvantaged mums, refugees, remote indigenous communities and even those who simply are struggling to make ends meet. For people living on the streets, a warm knitted blanket or even a scarf or beanie can help to warm the body as well as the soul.
Check out this short video about kogo:
In 2016 kogo had distributed 70,000 hand knitted or crocheted winter woollies to a variety of
exposed people within the community. Kogo now supply their items to over 250 community partner organisations, who fall into the following broad categories:
- Crisis accommodation
- Emergency relief
- Family support services
- Food distribution vans
- Homelessness services
- Hospital social work departments
- Government funded community support services
- Outreach Missions e.g.: Sacred Heart Mission
- Organisations dealing with children at risk
- Organisations helping refugees
- Women’s refuges
So on this wintery Thursday we say thank you to Ros and the thousands of volunteer knitters who really are warming the hearts of Aussies in need.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.