Thursday, February 14, 2013

Charity Crafting's Biggest Challenge

Charity crafting, and running a charity crafting group (small though it may be, by our own choice), is heartwarming and fulfilling.

It does have its down-side as well. Aside from the frustration of finding a place and method to store and stash the items slowly accumulating for distribution, the biggest issue is distribution itself.

So many times, I think I have found the final resting place for our lovingly hand-made projects. I relax into it, safe in knowing all I need to do is accumulate enough for a "run" to the destination. Suddenly, that door closes and I spend several weeks or months trying to find another suitable destination for our donations.

This is not an impossible task. It is a slightly, for me, annoying task. The time spent on emails or phone calls, and then waiting for replies, frustrates me. I really must pray, I think, before I tackle my next "destination search." I think I have been putting the cart before the horse, or the task before the prayer.

For example, our shawls and lap covers - for two years, we took batches of these to a local long-term care center, every 3 or 4 months. Then the staff had some turnover, some quality control issues, and other matters to deal with. They no longer seemed to welcome our donations although they didn't outright refuse them. We've since learned, from other sources, that many of these centers hesitate to accept this type of handmade item because of various laws. It is difficult for them to clean these items in the larger, industrial-type washing machines and dryers at these facilities. In addition, residents and patients become attached to their items and want the same items returned after laundry and it is difficult to mark this type of handmade piece.

So, I went destination-searching. I thought I found another place. I was very excited. A local firefighter had beaten cancer not long ago. His bouts with chemo led him to found a group dedicated to collecting and distributing items to chemo patients for their comfort during their ordeal, and to local hospice facilities. He was thrilled to pick up our first offering - 6 huge lawn bags of shawls, lap covers and slippers.

However, that was months ago. I have been almost begging him to let me know whether he will pick up again, or whether he'd prefer we drop off. I have no problem with dropping off to him - he's not far from me. But he is young. He has a full time job as a firefighter. He runs this massive charitable entity. I will try one more time, and then go searching again.

It's true I can find plenty of places online but I really prefer doing this for locals. I also prefer to do it for those who cannot usually afford their own things. It makes no sense, to me, for us to use our own yarn most of the time, and our senior-fingers and wrists, and our limited time, to make these things for, say, chemo patients who are upper middle-class and who can afford to buy their own.

Still, one way to look at it is that even though a person might have three times as much income as I have, perhaps they are basically alone in this world. In that case, perhaps our humble work of love will warm their hearts at a moment when they most need it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please check with local homeless shelters, or senior centers