Calgary teen knits 105 hats for annual donation to drop-in centre

·3 min read
Allysa Narang, 16, has been knitting hats for the past five years to donate annually to the Calgary Drop-In Centre. (Submitted by Anis Narang/Twitter - image credit)
Allysa Narang, 16, has been knitting hats for the past five years to donate annually to the Calgary Drop-In Centre. (Submitted by Anis Narang/Twitter - image credit)

For the past five years a young Calgarian has been spending hundreds of hours knitting hats to donate to one of the city's drop-in centres.

Allysa Narang, 16, stopped by the Calgary Drop-In Centre on Saturday to donate the 105 hats she knitted throughout the year. She started this annual donation of knitted hats as a way to do something she loved while helping others.

"I just kind of like doing crafts and doing things with my hands, and I find it relaxing," said Narang.

"I'm glad I can do something good for my community."

According to Narang's mother, Anis, her daughter started knitting hats for her family a few years ago.

"Then we were like, 'OK, we have enough hats,'" Anis said.

Anis, who taught Allysa how to knit when her daughter was just five years old, suggested that they donate the extra hats to a local drop-in centre. But Anis and her husband could not predict where their daughter would take this project.

"As her parents, we're always surprised that she's continuing to do this," Anis said.

"I didn't expect when she first started that it would be continuing on five years later … She's a much better person than I was at her age, and just seeing her do that every day, it's taught me and her dad a lot about giving back and how we spend our time."

The teen said it takes about two hours of knitting per hat, so the time adds up.

Submitted Anis Tarang/Twitter
Submitted Anis Tarang/Twitter

Because her daughter has Asperger's, Anis said she's not one to go out and volunteer in-person.

"It was kind of a good way for her to give back in her own way, in a way that she was comfortable with, but also she felt really useful."

'We can't do what we do without people like her'

Elise Short, manager for community engagement at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, said she had no idea that Allysa would be donating so many hats to the centre until the teen showed up with them on Saturday.

"It was a really pleasant surprise to see somebody that's that young that wants to give back to the community," said Short.

"We can't do what we do without people like her."

I want to keep on doing this for as long as I can. - Allysa Narang

Short said it's especially helpful to get a large donation of winter hats as the weather gets colder.

"We take for granted that we have a home to go to and if it's cold, we can go inside," she said.

"People that are using the shelter systems within the city, to be able to have someone think of them and to donate things that they actually need when the weather is cold, it's just such a huge thing."

Short said the hats Narang knitted will likely be shared with agencies that support vulnerable populations across the city, including Bear Clan Patrol Calgary, the non-profit BeTheChangeYYC and Alpha House Shelter.

As for Narang, she has no plans of quitting her project anytime soon.

"I want to keep on doing this for as long as I can."

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