Chantelle Stefan and Kelly McClure sit in a pile-o-toques created by the volunteers at Handmade Hugs.

Big fundraiser of the year helps to spread the love

Handmade Hugs Society Cowichan Valley is gearing up for their annual fundraiser at the Christmas Chaos craft fair

The Handmade Hugs Society Cowichan Valley is gearing up for their annual fundraiser at the Christmas Chaos craft fair.

The society and its volunteers make receiving blankets, neo-natal isolet covers, huggable bears and bunnies, slippers, positioning snakes, ice-pack/hot-pack covers, handmade quilts, blankets and afghans and a variety of other products that make long hospital stays or other emergency situations easier to cope with.

These items are created using donated yarn and fabrics that others have collected for their own projects but find they no longer need.

Christmas Chaos is a four day event that takes place each year at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan, and it is Handmade Hugs biggest source of funding. President, Julie McClure, says the funds are used for items that are not donated, such as ribbons, buttons, thread, and others.

“It’s an amazing venue,” said McClure. “And we make enough to cover our expenses for one year.”

In order to prepare, the society will be hosting what is called a Hugathon (essentially a work bee) on Sept. 22, and Oct. 13, at Glenora Hall. Volunteers will be busy sewing, knitting, and preparing all of the items needed for Christmas Chaos.

Volunteers and donations are welcome. Volunteers are needed to sew, stuff huggable toys, pre-wash and cut fabrics, deliveries, and contacting local businesses, churches, and community groups for donations of either cash, product items, or time.

McClure says she started a Handmade Hugs in Cowichan because she spent time as a patient, as well as a visitor to hospitals, and she understands that a patient needs something to help the hospital setting feel less institutionalized.

“It always felt institutional to me,” said McClure. “There was nothing that made it easier.”

So when her mother-in-law was in a care facility, McClure started bringing in afghans and other personal items.

“I had people stopping by just to look.”

From there she began to look into how she could provide items to those in hospital at little or no cost, and asked hospital staff what items were needed the most.

“What they wanted more than anything was positioning snakes [for infants],” explained McClure.

There are now many items the society provides for infants, children, adults, and the elderly, and they work with many not-for-profits and businesses in the Cowichan area.

“I’m so proud of what we’re doing and how much we’ve grown,” said McClure.

For more information visit


Just Posted

Live music scene at Osborne Bay Pub a paradise for musicians, audience

Berry takes it the next level with an impressive schedule featuring many different genres

Osborne Bay Pub executive chef appeals to music patrons’ tastes

Being part of a creative enterprise suits Lavoie

‘Outside Mullingar’ follows two Irish people along the bumpy road to happiness

John Patrick Shanley’s play looks at how a couple’s relationship can reflect their love of the land

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Christopher Justice wants more long term thinking at North Cowichan council

Economic prosperity through environmental stewardship, says Justice

Lexi Bainas column: Mystery, history, music, painting, and pottery: we’ve got a basketful for you this week

From Deathtrap to JW-Jones and Sue Coleman, there are many A&E surprises out there

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Cowichan Coffee Time: 70th anniversary, fundraising, new face

• The Cowichan Lake Golden Agers Society is gearing up for their… Continue reading

Most Read