PALMERSTON ‒ One community group has been flooded with eager volunteers after a call for crocheters to take part in a new public art project received overwhelming support.
Providing free patterns and supplies, the All Aboard Palmerston's Beautification Committee is still recruiting volunteers to crochet poppies for a Remembrance Day blanket to drape over the old 81 train in the Palmerston Lion's Park.
In partnership with the Palmerston Legion, while the group originally set out to create a Remembrance Day project that would attract more people to the park, when project coordinator Taylor Keunen first put out the call for volunteers two weeks ago, she never expected to wake up to her inbox "blowing up in the best way."
“I had no clue how many crocheters there would be…we really wanted to get as many people involved as we could,” said Keunen. “I was hoping for a few people just to get things started…that was two weeks ago and now we’re pushing 90 people.”
When Keunen first sent the call out on social media, she was expecting maybe five volunteers. Within 24 hours, 50 people had reached out.
“Everyone's just really keen to play a part of it as soon as they catch wind,” said Keunen. “You can kind of tell when we're talking that they're just getting even more excited to be a part of something bigger.”
While the group hesitantly set a “hefty goal” of 1,000 poppies, Keunen said they’re well on track and will likely surpass it.
“I believe it's something special, taking the time to remember those who have given their lives for us in this country, in this community,” said Keunen. “It's been a real pleasure to work on the project and quite honestly, I’m surprised by the way it's taken off, which is really great.”
According to Keunen, she’s been approached by volunteers of all ages ranging from sister duos to mother-daughters and everything in between.
“We just wanted to be able to bring people into the park a bit more, to create something that was visually appealing,” said Keunen. “We wanted it to be something that would make people stop and look and we really wanted to focus on Remembrance Day.”
An official unveiling for the project will be announced closer to Remembrance Day but in the months leading up to that, Keunen said more volunteers are always welcome.
"When people get excited about things that are happening in their community, and when they're able to kind of turn one of their passion projects of crocheting into something bigger, it just brings a lot of joy," said Keunen. "So it's honestly been an honour to witness the project come together in such a short amount of time."
Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.