I have learned a lot from hosting the Sew Goodness monthly challenge this year. My goal was to up my charity sewing and contributions. Ideally, my hope was to sew a simple charity sewing project each month. Looking back I learned a lot – especially about pacing myself and how much I could manage. Maybe you did too.
This month for the Sew Goodness challenge, I’m going to put a little twist on things: my challenge for you this month is to make face to face contact with someone you’re serving.
Whether you hand-deliver something you’ve made, volunteer at an organization or facility that takes care of others, or you just spend time with a person who could use some Christmas cheer. If you’re looking for place or people that need help, visit JustServe.org or CreatetheGood.org. Chances are good, however, that you won’t even need to look outside your immediate neighborhood for someone who could use some extra love.
I’m speaking for myself on this, but I love sewing and making things that I hope will make someone’s life better. That feels so good – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it!
But I also know that it’s easy to just stay in my comfort zone – in my sweatpants sitting at my happy sewing machine – and missing out on the human interaction part of helping.
We learned this lesson this past year. Last Christmas our family signed up to be a Sub for Santa for a local refugee family. They are natives of Bhutan and lived for years in a refugee camp in Nepal. The family consisted of two elderly parents and a young adult son who was both supporting his parents and putting himself through community college. After meeting this young man and his parents, we arranged a time to deliver some basic necessities that would help them. Before we came, the young man called to say that his sister and her husband and small children would like to host us for lunch to say thank you.
This adorable family fed us the most amazing lunch. (Have you ever tried Nepalese Momos? They’re one of my new favorite foods!) Our family took up almost all of the space in their tiny apartment kitchen (they reassured us they would eat later) and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this family.
They invited us for traditional Nepalese food again this summer. Thinking I’d be generous, I filled a brown paper lunch bag with fresh tomatoes from my garden to bring to them. Following our visit, they handed us three giant bags of produce they’d grown in their community garden plot. On the way home, I had to laugh at the irony – I thought I was being generous, but I received SO much more than I’d given! (There’s a good metaphor in there…)
Since that time we’ve taken them on some outings to local sites and this sweet Bhutanese family has become our friends. We love them so much! And I think they like us too. I think that for them, the friendship is so much more important to them than any food or Christmas gifts we gave them.
So, keep up all the good you are doing. Don’t overdo or out pace yourself. Remember, small and simple gifts and contributions go a long way! And just being a friend, costs nothing!
As I look ahead for 2019, I’m making some minor adjustments to my charitable sewing plan and learning how to better pace myself. Charity sewing is still an important aspect of my sewing life, so I look forward to continuing to work on projects and to share good causes. I’ve decided I won’t look for a different cause/project every month, but I will continue to share opportunities and good causes as they come up.
And I’ll continue to leave the link to the Sew Goodness page permanently on the right hand sidebar of my blog for easy access to a (growing) list of Charitable causes in need of donations.
Looking forward: January always puts me in the mood to purge. If you’re looking to start the new year fresh and want to give fabric to a good cause, here are some places to give:
If you’re looking for places to Donate Fabric, Batting or Thread try:
Many local Quilts of Valor chapters will gladly take quality red, white, and blue fabric.
Check with a local Quilt Guild. Guilds frequently head up charity projects. You can find your local quilt guild using this list of world wide traditional quilt guilds here and local Modern Quilt Guilds here and ask them if they’re looking for any donations.
Serving with Smiles is a Humanitarian organization that empowers kids to help serve. They can always use fabric and batting donations for blankets, bags, and quilt.
Check out this post from Sew Mama Sew for more great ideas and suggestions for donating fabric.
If you know of other organizations (or you are one) looking for fabric donations, please leave a comment or contact me directly at email@example.com.
Thank you all for continuing to inspire me with the goodness that SO many of you are already sharing with the world!