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Group of Midland seniors use passionate pastime to help community

A group of seniors are putting their passion for a popular pastime to good use by helping those in their community.

Every Tuesday afternoon, the Tiffin House Knitting & Crochet group meets, sharing coffee, tea and snacks while creating various items they donate. Over the years, a group of friends from Chartwell Tiffin Retirement Residence have donated thousands of items to a local hospital.

"I'm a retired school teacher, and I always taught my students how to knit, and there are some school teachers in the crowd, and they taught their children in schools to knit," Debbie Allain-Michaud said. "So, it's a passion, and I like to give back, and I'm retired, so I come here every Tuesday and knit."

The group from Chartwell Tiffin Retirement Residence in Midland makes various items, like headbands and neck warmers, which go to schools in Midland and Penetanguishene. They also make 'Izzy Dolls,' an item known worldwide in the crafting community.

The 'Izzy Dolls' pattern is available online, and many groups have started making handmade dolls. This group of crafters donates their created 'Izzy Dolls' to Georgian Bay General Hospital's emergency department, where they are handed out to children being treated.

"I make one a day. I can't seem to stop! I love making them, and when I put the face on, they come alive for me," said June O'Leary, affectionately known as the Izzy Doll lady amongst the group.

Sheila Purvis has been a group member for several years but has been donating knitted wear to Orillia's Soldiers' Memorial long before joining. Her items are targeted at premature infants.

"I feel like I'm helping a little bit for premature mothers and babies and hope they enjoy them when they go home from the hospital," Purvis said.

The group has also sent 'Izzy Dolls' to people devastated by the situation in Ukraine and has held fundraisers for the hospice, women's shelter and hospital foundation.

Some of their fundraisers go towards stocking up on supplies of wool, which can be expensive. They always accept donations of yarn and have items up for sale in the retirement home lobby. Top Stories

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