Every child deserves mittens

    STU Mitts 4
    Giving to the mitten-less (Megan Cooke/AQ)

    Professor Susan Reid knew if given the chance, her students would jump at an opportunity to organize something meaningful as a class. Even she couldn’t have imagined just how motivated her class would be or how big the student-lead initiative would grow.

    All it took was a single spark prompted by one tried-and-trusted documentary.

    “In this film, Isaiah is interviewed by the creator and she says, ‘what would you like for Christmas?’ and he says, ‘Oh you know, some Yu-Gi-Oh Cards, maybe some new mittens,’” said Reid.

    In the movie, they ask the young boy what he thinks his chances are for getting these gifts and he says his chances aren’t good because he’s less fortunate. Although he didn’t even know what being less fortunate meant, he’d accepted it.

    The students in Reid’s class were shocked, and decided to help kids less fortunate get something they thought every child deserved – mittens.

    “I really can’t take any credit other than setting the stage,” said Reid.

    The students of her criminology class, Children and Youth at Risk, did the rest and now their brainchild is taking Fredericton by storm. Something that started out just as a grade has become something much more.

    “Somebody heard the PSA announcement on CBC from Moncton and wrote to the Mittens email address, ‘I’m a retired nurse and I’m going on vacation and I’d like to make some mitts while I’m on the beach, so where do I take them?’” said Reid. “This is the kind of reaction we’re getting. The students are getting such positive reinforcement that they’re encouraged to do more.”

    You can find their posters everywhere, plastered all over campus and Facebook. Their Facebook page, started only a few weeks ago, already has over 400 likes. Donation boxes are also multiplying, jumping from building to building on campus, downtown and at the Regent Mall. Donations are even coming in from cities outside of Fredericton.

    St. Thomas student Amy Cooper thinks the initiative offers something other charities sometimes overlook. While many initiatives collect food and money for the food bank, children living in poverty often don’t have many personal belongings, she said.

    “This project allows children to have their own pair of mittens that fit them and are their very own,” said Cooper. “In some cases these mittens may be the only item of clothing that they don’t share with siblings.”

    Those who want to be part of this initiative can either collect mittens at local events, donate old ones or make homemade pairs.

    Most of the donated mittens will go to partnered organizations, such as the food bank, who can distribute them to the children. STU students are also sneaking around Fredericton to hang them from trees in local playgrounds and parks for tiny mittenless hands to find.