2015 seems to have been quite a challenging year, with more people than usual needing help across the world.
I have consulted Mrs. Woolsack, aka Jane Cooper, and my own conscience and come up with some options:
Making things to give
- possibly the best option is Knit for Peace, a lovely and inspiring charity, which includes knitting with retreats, free patterns from designers, and where items go to keep people warm both in the UK and across the world. Blacker Yarns has donated both knitting needles and garments.
- You can also find many local charities who are collecting items to help people in the refugee camps near Calais, in Greece or in Syria. It was really brought home to me what the refugee influx means in Greece: at 5,000 people a day, it is the same as the population of our two local towns of Fowey and Lostwithiel, which is pretty impressive as a challenge!
- The great thing about making things for people is best summed up by the words of a Salvation Army officer in Greece, who told Jane that, "I am conifdent that goods are also pass on feelings. Things made by love and care make those at the receiving endfeeling loved and welcomed." The Salvation Army is not a top-heavy organisation and gets things to people across the world.
- If you find it easier or preferable to give money, then these are our suggestions:
- RABI or RSABI: the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and its Scottish equivent help farming families in times of trouble: you can donate via Just Giving to RABI, and directly to RSABI from their website
- RNLI: the Royal National Lifeboats Institution saves lives at sea and was amongst the first charities to formally adopt best practice as regards contacting donors.
- Shelterbox has had "interesting times" in a court case recently, which may have diverted attention from the really valuable work they do in helping provide the basics for life in disaster areas. Their current project also involves providing wind-up lighting, which is a great way to cheer people up in the dark where there is no power. Shelterbox did at one time include cuddly toys in all their boxes and perhaps they will again in the future ...
- Crisis really makes a difference not just at Christmas but across the year with realistic projects enabling people to get out of the homelessness spiral
- p/hop combines knitting and crochet with supporting the wonderful work of Medecins sans Frontieres, and again you can donate cash instead via Just Giving
- Wild Fibers magazine, an amazing US publication from the equally amazing LInda Cortwright, has just completed the first stage of a project in Kashmir for local women to spin and knit and they still need money - this is truly inspiring
We chose these ideas because there is something which connects them in our minds in the right way to helping people, dealing with the sheer scale of the refugee movement and/or wool and farming. There are no doubt many more ... it's just important to start somewhere!