Hands On volunteers spreading warmth

From knitted jerseys to handmade quilts, Toni Krull’s non-profit organisation, Hands On, and her crew of elderly women, are giving back to the community of Gonubie and the rest of East London.

HELPING OTHERS: Toni Krull, of Hands On, holds one of the blankets made by her knitting club Picture: INGANATHI WILLIAMS

Krull says she became motivated to establish her own community service project when she went through a difficult period in her life – her husband died and her two children were each going through a divorce.

“Family is what keeps us women going. I had to do something to avoid letting the negative get to me,” explained Krull.

In 2009 she established Hands On, a colourful and quaint shop situated in Gonubie, where she holds her knitting and crocheting club for pensioners.

Krull said people and charity groups come to the shop and donate bags of wool and fabrics that her busy team uses to knit clothing items and blankets and sew quilts, which they then give to various organisations such as CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, Ross Helping Hands and the Greensleeves Orphanage.

The Canaan Project, a Swaziland-based non-profit organisation, is another platform that has allowed the women of Hands On to donate their handiwork and crafts to children in need. Krull said all items were made from the supplies donated to Hands On by generous groups and individuals, and that no profit was generated from the goods made.

Women in the knitting and crocheting club are, however, welcome to put their creations up for sale at the shop, provided they have used their own equipment or means to make the items.

The women of Hands On do not just give to those in their community or East London alone but expand their reach to other areas.

Recently, the community service group donated a mound of jerseys, blankets, quilts, scarves and other items to the community of Knysna after raging fires swept through the seaside town, damaging property and displacing hundreds of people.

Lily Pace, one of the first women to join Krull at Hands On, said: “I’ve been here for eight years now and I really enjoy the work we do here.

“It keeps us busy,” she said smiling.

Krull recently received the Lions Club award in recognition of her wonderful work and generosity.

“She is really a saint you know,” said Brenda Flashman, another member of Hands On, adding that Krull “really cares and does a wonderful service”.

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