Ok so I'm old.. I remember Bob from Sesame Street singing "Who are the People in Your Neighborhood" with the little muppets all around him. The song speaks of people that we meet in or neighborhoods who work hard to serve their community. Last year 5 ladies, including myself, started a "Hats for Hope Initiative" spin-off group, Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative to make warm accessories for those "people in our neighborhoods" . I also wrote in a blog post about the Christmas at Sea Program where knitters and crocheters have the opportunity to make warm winter gear for Mariners who serve us by moving commodities around the world via ship. Living not so many miles from 2 of the Great Lakes I know Mariners are people in my neighborhood. I thought why not do a blog about how we can acknowledge all those hard working folks that we pass everyday but rarely get the opportunity to thank.
The end August, something in the back of mind clicks, and I realize it is time to start thinking about Fall crafting. (at least here in the Northern Adirondacks) Most of us start adding to our stash yarns that are appropriate for winter, diving head first into those mill ends bins, and clipping coupons from our favorite stores. Part of that Fall crafting is charitable giving. My daughter sews and crochets. I knit and crochet (I also make hats on the round knitting looms which is fun and challenging). I do believe that "Makers" are some of the most generous people in the world. Giving not only of their time but also of their talents. (All those materials are worth money too!)
My husband and I were discussing the busy Great Lakes commerce. We live near both Lake Champlain, and Lake Ontario, when I go to the Cleveland Clinic we are right along the banks of Lake Erie. While we knew that a lot of commerce happened on the Lakes, never had we considered the men and women making that commerce happen. After a little research I found the Lake Carriers Association . What they do is stellar, and challenging. Last year on my Charity OUTpost blog I did a piece in which I included the Seamen's Church Institute, Christmas At Sea program. The Seamen's Church Institute writes this about their mission "The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) serves the hardworking men and women laboring on the world’s oceans and inland rivers. With their work, these individuals fuel the global economy and make our way of life possible as they spend months at sea or on rivers away from their families, friends, and homes.
With close relationships to governments and industry, SCI has shaped its support services to meet the challenges facing today’s mariner. From the provision of hospitality services at our Centers to operating the world’s only full-time and free legal aid program for merchant mariners, training mariners on world-class simulators used in SCI’s maritime education centers, and even delivering handknit holiday gifts for mariners, SCI provides an indispensable array of services to mariners working around the world".
The Christmas at Sea program helps the men and women aboard ships celebrate the holidays with handmade love. It's not really about whether these men and women have in their supplies proper warm items to wear, it is more about assuring that men and women know that someone is thinking of them while they are out to sea shuttling the things we use every day. How can you help? It is not difficult at all to participate in the Christmas at Sea program. There are a few simple instructions and there are free patterns to help you along the way. Ravelry has coordinated with the Seamen's Church Institute to help encourage participation. There are A LOT of men and women serving aboard these ships and therefore the SCI welcomes all the participation it can get. (as long as you follow the guidelines)
As I look to the people my family and I meet every day, there are a lot of folks who spend time out of doors in cold winter air working or trying to get to their jobs. From truck drivers to the person who delivers your prescription medicines. Teaching assistants on the playground with your kids and local farmers. While others may think; "they have a job, they can buy their winter hats and scarves why donate to them"? That attitude totally misses the point. At Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative we often give to churches and schools. We don't ask where are donations go or what person will get each donation. Our partners hand out the donations knowing it never hurts to show appreciation for people who do so much for us. It is true that warm clothes, truly warm clothes, Northern Adirondack type warm clothes, can be hard to afford. Any person "in our neighborhood" the volunteer fireman, truck driver, baker, bus driver, crossing guard, young mom, teaching assistant/aid, may be in need of handmade love. Just knowing people that we trust are making sure the donations are getting to the right place is enough to make us smile and keep us pressing on.
Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative is celebrating one year of hope on September 2. We hope you'll join us in our Scarf-a-versary! The info is available on our facebook page. The point is to use your happiest yarns or fabrics in your stash to create a colorful warm scarf for our neighbors. You don't have to join the group to participate in the scarf-a-versary, but it helps :)
One more note about Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative. We are a spin-off of Emily's Hats For Hope Initiative. They've given us help and support along the way in developing a great foundation for service to the community and I wanted to thank them in this post.
With all that is going on in the United States and indeed the world, we have an opportunity to make hope with our own two hands. Whether we give to a Hats for Hope Spin-off or to the Christmas At Sea program, Makers do great work, every day of the year. I want to thank everyone who has made a difference through their efforts with Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative. To all of you who work to make the world a little better one handmade item at a time, I offer my deepest gratitude.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.