Fish and Chip Babies Part 2.
As I have said, I find the members of the Fish and Chip Babies Facebook Group to be extraordinary in their dedication not only to the work they do but to each other. They find a use for each and every item donated. Its a lovely concept and one which I think goes a long way to helping the charities for which they work. While the group is centered mainly in the UK the contributors and members of the Facebook group are from all over the world.
Once I heard a comment, which is randomly attributed to many people, that we are human beings not human doings. I learned by joining Fish and Chip Babies and also Needles and Hooks Angels and Preemies, that they were concerned about ME as the human being. The fact that I lived in the United States and could not contribute anything but my skills as a writer to their projects, did not seem to matter. In fact they very much welcomed me with open arms and gave me the encouragement to write about the work that they do for others. They did not want credit for the volume of work or praise for the quality of work but they did want people to know that there are children, adults, families, villages in need. Whether they lived across the street or across the world. They wanted my readers to feel the burden they felt for others. Its really all about giving. What more could I say? I was inspired! I was in awe. I sat down at my beat up chromebook and began to write.
The central focus of all this love is the charities with whom Fish and Chip Babies work. There are seven charities who receive items made by the amazing fiber artists in the Fish and Chip babies group. (If you refer to part one you will note that there is a slideshow of just a TINY sample of the handmade items) Each charity has a list of needs which the group meets.
Greenfields Africa: http://www.gfafrica.com/ A charity that started in Greenfields with the building and equipping of a local church, St. Peter’s Church. An appeal was started through St. Peter’s Church in Stoke on Tern, Great Britain. This church now serves as a place of worship and a fully equipped community center! This was merely the beginning for Greenfields as they currently have work ongoing in Kenya and Uganda. The goal of Greenfields? “Our mission is to transform poor African communities by promoting self-reliance through healthcare, welfare and education” http://www.gfafrica.com/home/4557042809 The Fish and Chip Babies contribute needed items to the Clothing Activities organized by Barbara Hatton. “The mothers of babies born into poverty have a tough time. Incomes are so low that there is often nothing more than a scrap of cloth or old towel to wrap a new baby in.
Greenfields Africa has teams of knitters throughout the UK and in neighbouring EU countries, who knit baby clothes and cot blankets which we send to Uganda and Kenya.
Some of our supporters generously donate babygrows and cardigans which they buy from car boot sales and charity shops.
These feed into the Mama bag project -a mama bag contains a cotton vest, a knitted cardigan, a beanie and bootees, a babygrow, and a blanket, plus locally bought soap, vaseline etc. To qualify for a mama bag, the mum is required to attend 3 ante-natal clinics during the pregnancy
This project not only gives the babies dignity and comfort, it also ensures that pregnant women are tested for AIDS and diabetes and have access to childcare information, which is the embodyment of our mission.” http://www.gfafrica.com/baby-clothes/4557393185 This is the Facebook page for those who might be interested in getting regular updates or becoming involved https://www.facebook.com/groups/greenfieldsafrica/?fref=ts
Crafty Aid is a charity focusing their work in Homia, Northern Uganda. The group’s coordinator is Janin Cromarty, co-administered by Maria Hills. Their stated mission: “UK based Crafty Aid co-ordinates desperately needed knitted, crocheted and sewn items for newborn babies in Hoima, Northern Uganda to help their survival.
We welcome knitters, crocheters and sewers to help us provide a variety of items such as Fish N Chip Vests, hats, cot blankets, booties, cot toys, swaddling sheets and reusuable nappies.” Janin Cromarty, like many fiber artists, believes that an infant hat can save a baby’s life! “Knit a Hat, Save a Life” is the motto you will find written on the group’s facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CraftyAid/?fref=ts Naturally the fiber artists in the Fish and Chips Babies group do their very best to contribute all of the items listed in the Craft Aid needs list.
The Ruth Mailbag Group is located in Ladysmith, Kwa, Zulu Natal, South Africa. Joy Coerzee is the founder of The Ruth Mailbag Group. She writes a blog http://theruthmailbaggroup.blogspot.com/ and there is a Facebook community dedicated to; “Patients at State hospitals and clinics in South Africa are typically destitute, malnourished, as well as being very sick or injured. Many are jobless, many are homeless, and many have no loved-ones to provide the basic needs for them in hospital.
The Ruth Mailbag Group strives to provide for the needs of destitute moms and babies in the maternity and NICU of our local state hospital and several other hospitals in our country who have asked for our help by providing them with a basic baby pack for their new and or sick babies. “ https://www.facebook.com/The-Ruth-Mailbag-Group-153666104700531/info/?tab=page_info The Ruth Mailbag Group receives support through The Fish and Chip Babies to provide all the normal clothing items so necessary for dignity and survival of babies! (My readers know by now this is an issue very close to my heart! )
Bigogwe Trust is a charity dedicated to North West Rwanda. What they hope to accomplish is to “relieve sickness, and to protect, and to preserve the good health of the people residing permanently or temporarily in the provinces of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri, Rwanda, Africa, in particular through the work of the Bigogwe Health Centre” http://www.bigogwe.org Dr. James Derrick is the contact person for the Fish and Chip Babies group which supplies the Trust with clothing items including those little Fish and Chip vests so vital to helping babies retain their body heat.
The Ethel Brolls Children of the World Appeal was founded and is organized by Ethel Brolls a lady with a true dedication to seeing that the children of the world receive warm clothing, toys, and blankets. She, herself a very busy knitter, has seen an amazing 16, 200 items donated this year! She is a very hard working woman who oversees this Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/653169174754290/?fref=nf open to anyone who would like to lend a hand… or two. The Fish and Chip Babies group contributes many items to the Ethel Brolls Children of the World Appeal.
Cherished Gowns For Angel Babies UK is a charity specializing in helping parents of babies gone too soon find appropriate clothing in which to bury their cherished baby. Its a very special task they have undertaken: “Our aim is to provide the families of these precious babies with an item of clothing that they are able to wear for their final farewell. We provide hospitals around the UK with a comfort pack to give to parents that contain a special Gown made from a wedding or other formal dress that has been donated.” http://www.cherishedgowns.org.uk/ The group asks volunteers to create their special gifts and the Fish and Chip Babies group aid them by donating blankets, booties and hats made from the very specific patterns designed by Cherished Gowns. The charity is very active in helping hospitals, and parents. “Cherished Gowns For Angel Babies UK was set up in October 2014 and since then we have provided 54 hospitals around the UK with boxes of our gown packs and have sent over 100 packs via Royal Mail Special Delivery directly to parents or funeral homes. We have had over 1100 Wedding dresses donated and to date our volunteers have made 5072 Cherished Gowns (accurate to 08/08/15), and over 9,500 knitted items.”
Samara’s Aid Appeal works mainly in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Jordan but the needs in the Middle East are great so Samara’s Aid is reaching out to other regions. The beginnings of Samara’s Aid Appeal started like many stories I have heard while writing this blog, there was an urgent need and one person decided they could make a difference. In this case “Around Christmas 2013, I saw reports of Syrian refugee children in snow covered camps, wearing flip flops and summer clothes. These were the clothes they had been wearing when they fled from their homes in summer, and they had nothing else.
The press described how refugees were burning old shoes in the camps in a desperate attempt to try to keep warm. I was shocked, and moved to tears by the thought of having young children, living in a tent in the snow, and not being able to provide them with the most basic things like clothes, shoes and warmth to survive the winter.” http://www.samarasaidappeal.org/my-story/ That’s where the story begins but it really has no end and volunteers like those in Fish and Chip Babies are there to continue the work. Everything you can imagine is needed and all of the work donated by the group is used. Everything.
If you are interested in helping the Fish and Chip babies simply google the name and it’s likely you will find a group in your own country. In the United States there are no formal Fish and Chip Baby groups. We have many of our own similar groups to which we can donate much needed clothing items. The pattern for the Fish and Chip Vest can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zannys-t-sweater for free. (joining Ravelry is free also)
Even though I have written here about the 7 charities the Fish and Chip Babies group on Facebook support through their handmades, there is so much more that they do for people. By helping others, you help yourself. Its that simple. Its that beautiful. Its that kind of love that we need more of in the world. Thank you to all of you who have helped in the writing of this blog and enthusiastically supported my efforts!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.