SASKATOON -- A Prince Albert senior has spent about 900 hours this past year knitting and crocheting scarves for people in the city who are living homeless.

Eleanor George, 84, said it took her a minimum of five hours to make each scarf.

With knitting and crochet needles in her hands for several hours a day this past year, she managed to make 175 scarves to gift to the less fortunate.

“Not everybody gets something homemade,” said George. “I always feel there’s a need in the city.”

She also washed, dried, conditioned and individually bagged the scarves.

George donated them to city council’s annual holiday initiative that distributes bags of necessities to homeless people in Prince Albert. The pandemic has forced its usual Christmas Eve get-together at the Union Centre, where people can pick up the bags and visit over coffee and snacks.

In the past, Ward 1 Coun. Charlene Miller and former Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha took on the project. This year, all of city council is helping out with Miller leading.

She said councillors be distributing bags of warm clothing to places like homeless shelters and detox centres.

“When Eleanor got ahold of me last year at Christmas time to say she was going to do 175 scarves for me, I was overwhelmed,” said Miller.

“I didn’t know if somebody could do 175 scarves in a year, but she did it.”

Miller, along with Mayor Greg Dionne, picked up the scarves at George’s home on Saturday afternoon. She also gave scarves to Miller and Dionne.

George’s friend, Arlene Kennedy, made an additional 31 scarves for the bags.

George said she finished making her last scarf on Friday night. Somehow, she said, she still has yarn left over.

Last year, George made a monetary donation so that Miller could buy scarves. Because she taught herself how to knit and crochet at a young age, she wanted to challenge herself to make them instead.

When the pandemic hit in March, George said she had a lot of time to make them. She only took breaks in the summer to take care of her garden.

“I don’t drive anymore, so I can’t go out, so this just kept me sane,” said George.

“I belong to Mont St. Joe's (Joseph) Auxiliary and I work in the canteen there and I teach an art class there. I can’t go there anymore. I belong to Senior Advocacy, I can’t go there anymore. I can’t go to exercise class — I have to do something,” she said with a smile.

The bags city council is distributing will also contain other warm clothing items such as toques, mitts and socks.