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How Can I Help?

 

Oh my goodness. So much commotion going on in our world. And too much suffering. So much that needs doing, but sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start. I’m a strong believer in just doing something to make a difference wherever we can. No one can do it all, but if we all do something, a lot gets done.Β  One of my favorite thoughts: “By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass…”

 

After reading Dana’s heart-wrenching article about helping with the hurricane/flood clean-up in Houston (and knowing there is SO much more of this to do in places like Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico) I decided to pick something and just do it. I have a ton of quilt samples stacked up in a closet in my basement, which feels a bit ridiculous right now when so many people have lost everything. I’m selling them with all funds going to disaster relief. More details on that below.

 

I think it’s easy to feel paralyzed to even know where to start. If you feel like that, then I invite you to just pick one thing. That’s enough.

Honestly, the best thing you can do is donate money. If that’s an option for you. We love quilts, but often the greater immediate need is things like diapers, clean clothes, and a new roof. Donations allow much needed $ to be used most efficiently where the need is greatest and to go back into the local community at the site of the disaster. Sometimes the distribution of goods can cause more challenges for over-taxed relief agencies. (post update: Please read Elaine’s experience in the comments section.)

There are lots of reputable organizations who can use that money effectively to help the most people. Some places you could donate are: One America Appeal.orgΒ andΒ The Red Cross. Feel free to share others in the comments.

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But if you feel like putting your hands to work too, here’s the start of a list of organizations collecting quilts and similar items. Helpful tip: make sure you have contact and are working with an agency who is soliciting specific needs and has plans for the distribution of those items.

The Linus Connection in Texas is collecting quilts and comforters and working to distribute them with Austin Disaster Relief.

Art Gallery Fabrics is working with Quilts of Compassion to collect and distribute Quilts.

Diane of From Blank Pages has accumulated a list of local shops and resources in Texas that are collecting and distributing quilts.

APQS shops in Texas and Oklahoma are also collecting quilts and offering long-arm services to finish quilt tops.

Check with your local quilt shop to see if they are collecting donations. My local shop here in Utah, the Quilter’s Lodge, is accepting new an unused quilts, bedding, and pillowcases for any of you Utah locals.

If you know of a way to help or other organizations helping with disaster relief, please leave a comment below (click on the word bubble in the top right of this post, next to the heading) and I’ll add them to the list.

 

As I mentioned, I’m selling 14 quilts (5 minis, 3 crib quilts, 5 large throw-size quilts, and a quilt top). I will cover the shipping so that 100% of the sales total will be donated to disaster relief.

I’ll also donate 100% of all the sales of my PDF patterns between now and Monday, October 2.

(I’ve chose the LDS Philanthropies Humanitarian Aid fundΒ who partners directly with the Red Cross and local disaster relief agencies. Because administrative costs are covered by volunteers, 100% of the money donated goes directly to disaster needs and local suppliers. But if you buy a quilt and have a different organization you’d prefer your donation to go to, I’m happy to do that! Just let me know your preference.)

All quilts are now listed in my SHOP.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions if you want more details about any of the listings at amy@diaryofaquilter.com. (I will be off the grid and unable to access email on Friday, but will get back to you asap on Saturday.)

I’ve also listed 5 copies of the book Scraps Made Simple. All proceeds from those book sales will also be donated.

Hopefully I can get these quilts in the hands of someone who will enjoy them and funds donated to help those in the greatest need.

 

What the world needs now, is Love, sweet Love…

Thank you so much to so many of you who are already ahead of the game and doing so much. I’m grateful for your big hearts and marvelous examples.

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Elaine Gant Clements
    September 28, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I work with a religious organization that has a best practice model disaster relief international (and domestic) program. I live in New Orleans where we have experienced a number of disasters, the most notable being Hurricane Katrina. I appreciate that people want to help but “goods” donated are called “the disaster after the disaster”, especially domestically when even after a disaster, most people have access to goods in local stores. Needs change quickly after a disaster so that by the time the need is expressed, the goods amassed and shipped, the need is most often over. Also, buying things locally helps support the local economy, giving it a much needed post disaster boost. It also allows people to choose what they want rather than us choosing what WE want them to have, an important component of respecting human dignity. Also, storing and distributing large quantities of goods becomes a nightmare for non-profits helping people recover. While I appreciate that quilters generously want to give of the thing that they love (quilts), most folks along the Gulf Coast really don’t use or need quilts, especially in hurricane season, when average temps hover in the high 90’s. In Katrina, well-meaning people sent us truck loads of winter coats, hockey gear, children’s books (things the community ended up warehousing for years and years at great expense and finally, having to dispose of). We can also become convinced that sending goods is a good idea because people in the disaster don’t say “no” to our donation when we offer. Part of every trip I make to these areas is to listen to local folks talk about goods and how to handle them because they don’t want to say “no” because “people are so nice”. Please, please, instead of sending goods, consider sending money to your favorite disaster relief organization.

    • Reply
      Amy
      September 28, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Excellent. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your experience and perspective, Elaine! I’m really grateful.

  • Reply
    Summer
    September 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I’m a member of the West Houston Quilter’s Guild. We lost everything in our storage unit during the flood, including 200 completed quilts that would have gone to local nursing homes and hospitals; however, from posts on Facebook and talking to quilty friends, we have started receiving quilting supplies from our Texas neighbors and as far afield as Minnesota, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania! We are having sew-in days to make quilts, and members who cannot attend have picked up kits to complete at home. Our local quilt shops in Katy, Texas, are supporting us by having sew-in days – providing space, electricity, and support! – and a local Hobbs batting distributor has teamed up with Hobbs (a Texas business) to donate rolls of batting. Like you, I am digging around in my sewing room and coming up with stuff to donate. A woman I work with is a single mom and her apartment flooded, so I found a completed top in my stash, my long-armer friend donated her time to quilt it, and I just have to put on a label and binding before I gift it to my colleague. Houston Strong!

    • Reply
      Amy
      September 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      oh, I’m so sorry for the losses! I’m so glad you’re receiving donations to compensate. Quilter’s a good folks.

      Sending best wishes!

      xo

    • Reply
      Linda Lashbrook
      September 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      To what address do you wish items sent?

  • Reply
    The Joyful Quilter
    September 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I applaud you willingness to help! My local quilt bee joined the effort, as well. It feels SEW GOOD to contribute when so many are hurting.

  • Reply
    danawillard
    September 28, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Great post Amy! And thank you for sharing my post!

  • Reply
    The Furnshop
    September 29, 2017 at 1:51 am

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Reply
    Jan Parker
    September 29, 2017 at 6:36 am

    None of the people in any of the affected regions need quilts as much as we want to give them. These people are all in “hot” areas of the country.

    Also the Red Cross has a very poor showing for the use of the monies donated to them. Many of these funds are used to support the hierarchy, with some directors making millions. That is not where you want your hard-earned money to go.

    The people in Puerto Rico do not have water or food. It is sitting in hundreds of shipping containers that need to be released and distributed to them. The US government needs to focus on getting transportation from the ports and also get it airlifted to various areas around the country. Clothing is bulky to distribute and most who donate do not know what the local people need/want to wear. It is better to buy locally if possible. Please give $$$$ only.

    • Reply
      Rosemaryflower
      September 29, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I agree with you Jan. It is interesting that once the US Government becomes the “sponsor” of any organizations, – the money does not go where it is needed.

    • Reply
      Amy
      September 29, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Really good advice. Thanks Jan!

  • Reply
    Rosemaryflower
    September 29, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Very wise and encouraging words. I believe most of us are good and giving people.
    We know the suffering and would love to fix it right away.
    We have given a lot of $$$ to various organizations. I think these people would love to have their stuff back. This is a good time to go through our house and think about clothes and furnishings we can contribute to make others happy.

  • Reply
    Paula
    September 29, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Jan, I’ve heard that about the Red Cross too. Best to donate only blood to the Red Cross and give money to an organization that uses it wisely. I recently did a lot of research about charities and voluntourism and such and came away from my reading believing that donating goods is rarely the best thing to do. We tend to get excited about a service idea and run with it without considering the ramifications of our good works. I totally agree, money is best, and even better when the charity is reputable and not making a profit. Amy’s choice, the LDS Humanitarian Services, is my first choice too.

    • Reply
      Amy
      September 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your research and insights, Paula.

      • Reply
        Gail
        October 1, 2017 at 9:41 am

        I worked with the Red Cross during Hurricane Andrew and yes, they spend most of the money on their administration. Give to Samaritan Purse or some other smaller organization. More of the money will go to the people.

  • Reply
    hopflower
    September 29, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    So true about the Red Cross. One of the best organizations to give to in disaster circumstances is Catholic Relief Services. They provide assistance to the poor overseas and in the U.S. without regard to race, religion or nationality by responding to emergencies and fighting poverty. It has been shown that they give more to the actual victims and donate who they say they will give to than any other contributor. You can check on who gives what on a Charity Ratings site: Charity Watch. It is wise to check out any organization; as so may use money for salaries and administrative costs and the victims hardly see any benefit. Just another one to consider. Good on all of you for being so concerned and wanting to help. It is important to me, too.

    • Reply
      Amy
      September 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Excellent. Thank you so much! I have worked with Catholic Community Services on some local service issues and been so impressed. Catholic Relief Services has a great track record of making a tremendous difference.

  • Reply
    Needle and Foot
    September 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    This post is wonderful and I really appreciate all of the information provided in the comments. Thank you for getting the discussion going Amy.

  • Reply
    Trish
    September 30, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Samaritan’s Purse is another good organization. Their website is https://www.samaritanspurse.org
    Good post and a lot of good information given from your followers. We all have the need to “do”….it’s nice to know when you live so far away we can still help.

  • Reply
    Bridgette
    October 1, 2017 at 12:08 am

    I’m so glad I took time to read the comments! It sounds like money is what they need most.

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 1, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Thank you Amy, for sharing this information. I appreciate everyone’s comments and learned about some other worthy groups. Please add DisasterRelief.org to your lists.

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 3, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Will do. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Dianne G Patterson
    October 1, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I’m asking for your help specifically for my mother. She’s 89. She lives in Overland Park, KS. On July 17 she had a direct hit from the lightning that fried anything plugged in at her house that wasn’t on a GFC outlet. We got her back in her house 3 days later and her basement flooded and she lost almost everything. We weren’t done cleaning up and replacing things when she was flooded again about 2 wks later. The 2nd flood was worse than the first and broke a record for how high the creek got. What she didn’t lose in flood 1 she lost in flood 2. The water was up to the top step on the basement stairs and lapping at the subfloor. She does have flood insurance but it doesn’t cover personal items. She lost all of her seasonal decorations and most importantly, all of her Christmas decorations. I’m asking for your help replacing her decorations. When your 89 you look forward to pulling all your decorations out and the memories that are attached to each one. She doesn’t have that this year, no tree, no stockings, none of the angels she collected from places she and my dad visited or the ones that were given as gifts. I’m going to make new stockings since I made the first ones but I need help with the rest. The city has done NOTHING to help the flood victims and it’s really sad. If any of you would be willing to make ornaments or any decorations I would be so grateful and proud to present them to her from my quilting friends. I want to give her hope and something to look forward to. Thank you for your consideration of my personal request! Dianne Patterson, Olathe, KS

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 3, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Oh your poor mother! What a thoughtful thing to do! What is the best way to send ornaments and Christmas decorations for her?

  • Reply
    kaholly
    October 1, 2017 at 5:32 am

    I have chosen to help in a different way by supporting pet rescue agencies. I don’t have a lot of money, but I do have time, and am having a block drive to make items to auction off to raise necessary funds.

  • Reply
    kaholly
    October 1, 2017 at 5:35 am

    P.S. What you are doing to make a difference is incredible!

  • Reply
    Betty Moll
    October 1, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’m glad to see others comment on the Red Cross. I live in a Houston suburb, and have heard so many horror stories about the Red Cross that I strongly urge everyone to donate to a different organization. Samaritan’s Purse is one that helped in Houston during and after Harvey hit our area. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. We were some of the lucky ones and were not affected by Harvey personally. We’ve used this disaster as a good reason to clean out closets, kitchen cabinets, etc. and donate to those who last everything, as well as donating money to JJ Watt’s Foundation who within only a few days of announcing that he was collecting money for hurricane relief was delivering supplies to shelters in the Houston area. Funny that a football player could do so much so quickly while the Red Cross did very little. Thank you, Amy, for what you are doing. Quilter’s always seem to be some of the first responders after a disaster.

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Wow! Thanks for sharing your first hand experience. And for the recommendation for Samaritan’s Purse. Sounds like a good one. Or JJ Watt’s! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Barbara
    October 1, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Giving to a reputable charity is very important to make sure the monies go to the correct people, the ones really hurting.
    Give your blood to the Red Cross!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Well done! I too donated 100% of the sales proceeds from my shop for the past week … which will end today, 10/1. It was great to see items move out and people willing and happy to help! Collectively, we raised $640 which I donated to Voices for Puerto Rico yesterday (inventory had dwindled and didn’t want to wait to donate given the urgency that exists).

    Thank you for opening your heart as well!

  • Reply
    Abby
    October 4, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Our prayers are with you all from here in Australia. We are all too familiar with disasters here and the glut of donated items left after people have given so willingly. If cash isn’t something you have perhaps you could organize a yard or street sale (we call it a trash and treasure sale) and donate the proceeds. That way you are still able to use the excess you have without those in the disaster area ending up with excess.
    It’s also a very environmentally friendly way to reuse and recycle.

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