Who knew buying one toque could keep two people warm this winter? Nathalie-Roze Fischer, that’s who.
Fischer, a Toronto eco-accessories designer, has been crafting and selling wonderful “upcycled” sweater-toques for a while. And this year, she’s doing a little something extra. For each toque sold, she’s donating one to a local shelter or homeless program.
UPDATE: Due to a spike in requests from shelters for more toques, Fischer and her helpers are making and donating as many items as possible, regardless of how many she sells.
“Like many people, I’m not in a position to make a significant monetary donation to charities I’d like to support,” she said in an email to The Loop. “But I’m using the skills I have to do something hands-on to make a difference.”
This particular “make-and-donate” initiative is a part of Fischer’s The Lennie Project, a program which aims to help Toronto’s most vulnerable. It was created in honour of her Uncle Lennie who died of cancer last year.
“My uncle was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known — always keen to help anyone who needed something. He had a soft spot for the underdog, and supported many local and international charities quietly,” Fischer said. “He did a lot of good for a lot of people, and I know he would’ve liked this idea a lot.”
So far she’s managed to donate 450 toques, mittens and neck-warmers, along with over 300 pairs of socks. Fischer estimates that by the end of winter the donations will likely rise to over 1,000. Now that’s a lot of toques and she’s not making them one at a time. Fischer makes them in batches and says her fellow crafters are a huge help.
“I’m fairly efficient, and I do have help from some crafty friends, so production is expanding…The handmade community has been especially supportive,” she said.
On Jan. 24, members of Toronto Etsy Street Team & 416-Hustler are collaborating with The Lennie Project to co-host a “Sewing Bonanza.” They (and anyone in Toronto who wants to attend) will be sewing for five hours with the aim of producing over 200+ items. The Lennie Project is also encouraging Torontonians to donate their unwanted cozy sweaters at sweater-drives located all over the city.
“There are tons of shelters that really need in-kind donations…clothing, kitchen supplies, linens, etc.,” she said. “I think people sometimes think they have to do something huge to make an impact — it’s easy to get overwhelmed and do nothing, but small, deliberate acts of kindness matter and do a lot of local good.”
It’s chilly, non? No wonder you’re a bit cranky, what with those frozen fingers and red nose, but before you let the winter blues completely take over, we’ve got just the thing to help you snap out of it. Warm your cold, frozen Canadian heart with daily feel-good stories all winter long right here on The Loop. Get ready, because you’re bound to find yourself smiling at lot more than usual.