If you ever wondered what Australia’s oldest man might be doing right now, knitting cute mini sweaters for injured penguins may not have been your guess. However, that is exactly how Alfred“Alfie” Date, 109 years old spends his time at the retirement home he lives in.
After knitting for more than 80 years, Date’s former caregivers suggested to him that he help out Phillip Island's Penguin Foundation by providing tiny sweaters following a massive oil spill that injured hundreds of penguins. According to Nine News, “The girls who used to work for me, they'll tell you I'm a sucker. I can't say no,” said Date.
The tiny sweater movement isn’t exactly a fashion statement for penguins to cheer up after disastrous oil spills, the sweaters serve to prevent the penguins from trying to clean their feathers and swallowing toxic oils. The oil also prevents the penguins regulating temperature and reduces their buoyancy in water.
Thanks to Date’s little sweaters for the Little Penguins, a specie only found in Australia and New Zealand, they can be taken from rehabilitation back into the wild.
A spokesperson for the foundation told Nine News, “It's amazing and we feel quite privileged to have him dedicating his time and effort to the Penguin Foundation.” To put into perspective the amount of work Date has put into making the sweaters, the foundation assures that they have plenty of sweaters available and are not in need of any donations at this time.