Grow Local. Eat Local. Buy Local. For me, the most important is Donate Local.
I believe you must start local to bring about global good. Every day in your community charitable acts are needed and appreciated. In just about any neighborhood, there is someone who is struggling. The situation for help may not make national headlines, but that doesn't minimize their desperation for assistance.
There are always times, however, when catastrophe strikes beyond your zip code. It could happen across town, across the country, or halfway across the world. It may strike someplace that feels like home or hits close to home in your heart or the devastation is so huge in scope, it seems like it will swallow you up whole unless you contribute to the relief effort. So has been the case with Hurricane Sandy.
Sitting here in Southern California — a state familiar with the destructive force of fiery nature — I know the images of water-drenched ruin seen on TV are miniscule compared to how things really are in Sandy-affected areas along the east coast. Even though so far away, the superstorm affected me in a personal way. It ravaged Rockaway, Queens — a neighborhood we've witnessed suffer so much tragedy in the last eleven years. It has beaten the crap out of Newark, New Jersey, a city who has a very human superhero in Mayor (hopefully one day, President) Cory Booker.
And then there is Staten Island.
Staten Island is a place that has been romanticized in my mind since a child. The wedding scene in The Godfather might have something to do with that. For better or worse. Anyways, forget Broadway, for me, boroughs like Staten Island is New York. That's why when Amanda from An Angry Girl's Guide to Buddhism tweeted that she was knitting hats to donate to Staten Island (and tracked down an organization on the ground to send 'em to), I was on it! Like many of us, it hit home for Amanda that despite the people of Staten Island going without notice and critical help from emergency response crews, the residents were there for each other one-hundred percent.
And while sending money, clothes and supplies is ideal, I also wanted to donate something more heartfelt, something I could make with my hands. And I agreed with how Amanda described it to me, "...somehow handmade seems to put 'I really care' out there..."
That is when I decided I would knit or crochet a scarf to send to Staten Island — and another for a local charity. I urge you to do the same.
Amanda and I are far from being the only ones doing this. Amongst many others, Brett Bara from Manhattan Craft Room and Natalie from A Dose of Delightful has created the MAKE IT BETTER CRAFTALONG FOR SANDY RELIEF.
While there is the URGENT need for donations of all kinds, including handmade warm items, please keep in mind that help will be needed for months and months. So if you're thinking about how slow a knitter you are, know that scarf or cap or gloves will be much appreciated in the cold March rain — whether it's in Staten Island, New York or Anaheim, California.
For donations to Staten Island:
599 Fr Capodanno Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10305
Attn: Megan Delmar
For Make It Better donations, click link.
Use Twitter hashtag #KNITS4SINY if participating in knitting or crocheting for Staten Island.
If you know of other organizations accepting knit and crochet (and other handcrafted items), please feel free to share in comments below.