Monday, November 15, 2010

Charity should be a way of life - not just during the holidays

Yep, you know it's that time again when the holiday commercials start bombarding you between your favorite t.v. shows.  I'm so glad for my DVR, I get to skip right over them.  I don't need to see one more commercial about that new gift idea that my child must have!

On a more serious note, it's that time to also think about our less fortunate during this time of year.  With the economy as it is many of us who were feeling pretty flush last year are finding themselves cutting back more than they've ever had to before. Perhaps even having to sell possessions they received as Christmas gifts last year to help pay their rent, buy food for their families or winter clothing for their children.

One of the many things that bothers me this time of the year is the commercials advertising to go out and buy, buy, buy.  Well what about some commercials on give, give, give.  There are so many charities out there at this time of year who need our help and no one's saying anything about money either, you can donate your time, food, gently used clothing (coats, hats, and gloves - particularly this time of year).  At my day job we participate in a giving tree program, feeding the elderly on Thanksgiving and Christmas at our local senior center, an adopt-a-family program, a food drive for our local food bank, and well you get the idea. Every little bit counts, this year more than ever with so many people out of work and trying to make ends meet on unemployment, social services, and relying on food pantries to feed their families. 

It's our moral obligation to help where we can - does your child really need that $400 X-Box this year?  When you could give a quarter of that in a donation to your local food pantry and feed probably a half dozen families.  Forgive my soapbox speech but I can't help but talk about this.  It something we should be thinking about year 'round not just this time of year - but I particularly believe we should make an effort to give -when there are so many that need.  I also believe that we should teach our children about community service, helping where they are needed, and about giving. 

In a not so distant past I found myself in situations where I was unable to pay my rent, or buy groceries, or diapers for my son and there were organizations and people willing to help, most organizations that solely relied on donations but they were there to help me in my time of need.  So at this time of year, I like to give back to those who are in the same situation. I try to teach my son, that when you have it, there is nothing wrong with sharing it.  He really gets into the spirit of giving this time of year - I'm hoping that he will want to do it all year 'round.

Some charities that I make a point of giving to each year is my local Salvation Army and the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.  My small donation oftentimes helps over 15 individuals or 5 families in need of a hot meal on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  As well as going through my son's clothes and outgrown outerwear and donating them to a Salvation Army Red Box, so that a child doesn't have to go without a coat during the winter season.

This year I was looking over some charities for knitters and few have caught my eye that I read about on the Fiber Arts - Times Union Blog - Make a Hat. Save a Life. post. It inspired me, with all the yarn I've accumulated over the last couple of years (see Has Your Hobby Turned into An Obssession?) I could make enough hats to cover hundreds of heads, or scarves, or slippers, mittens, sweaters - the list goes on and on and it could be done with just my remnant stash!  I can't wait to get started.

Giving isn't limited to just people, there are animal shelters out there who could use our help too.  The ASPCA is always in need of our help - they are on the front lines when it comes to saving abused and neglected animals.  And you wouldn't believe the number of animals that start off as a gift and ends up in a shelter or on the street somewhere.  It breaks my heart that many of these animals have to be humanely euthanized due to someone's neglect or abuse. (Can you tell Animal Planet was my viewing choice during this weekend's knitting frenzy?)  There are many organizations that are looking for knitters/crocheters who can donate knitted/crocheted blankets for abandoned and/or abused animals at local animal shelters.  One such organization I discovered is the Snuggles Project.

The Snuggles Project was founded by Rae French, in 1996 because of her heartfelt need to do something for the innocent victims who find themselves in animal shelters without a bit of comfort to call their own. Picturing them in their hard cold cells made her heart ache to do something to help. So she got the idea of security blankets for shelter animals. The security blankets are called "Snuggles." Did you know that a knitted blanket can help calm a frightened or injured animal and makes the shelters look and feel more homey. Animals are more at ease when visitors are more at ease. This makes for better matching and better adoption results.

So animals as well as humans can benefit from your craft.  I'd like to hear from you, what is your favorite charity or how do you give during this time of year - or do you give all year 'round?  Leave me a post, I'm always looking for more ways to spread the joy of the holiday season - even in July!

P.S. Here's what my latest knitting frenzy weekend produced:
Toddler socks (size 9) - using toe-up
technique I learned two weeks ago!

Fun fur trimmed caplet, scarf, and hat set by Lion Brand
pattern: 40255

Lion Brand Fun Fur & Homespun
hat and matching scarf


  1. OMG Woman! you got those socks done fast!!

  2. Yeah, as soon as I'm done with my current scarf I will be starting another pair of toe-up socks with this cool elastic/acrylic blend I found at the Knittery