Blankets turned into ponchos for the homeless

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: West Coast

From her shed at home in Waiohiki Hawke's Bay, Charla Hawaikirangi turns old blankets into poncho hoodies for the homeless. 

"I just feel real aroha for them knowing that I'm in a nice warm whare and they're not, yeah, and especially for our tamariki that have been living in cars with their parents," Hawaikirangi says.

Inside her shed she has set up a table and sewing machine and when it gets cold, she lights up the fire to keep her warm while she works.

"I spend maybe an hour or two after mahi, that's my downtime."

The idea to make the poncho hoodies came about after she saw a family member wearing one made out of an old "itchy and scratchy" blanket.

Since then she's put the word out for any old blankets that people don't want so she can turn them into poncho hoodies, something she likes to call a 'Charla creation'.

She is a self-taught sewer and says the blankets have slowly been coming in but says, "I don't have enough, I'd love more."

The plan is to give them to the homeless around her area and she encourages anyone else with a sewing machine to give it a go too.