Sometimes Children Need A Friend
Around this time of year, many of us start to think about giving, and how to give. I know that I am. And something that is close to my heart are the children who are stuck in difficult situations, who are living in difficult or even dangerous environments, and who are not being protected and nurtured by the people who should be doing that. Recently I was reading one of my favorite crafting talents, Jodie at Ric-Rac, and how she is contributing a softie to Mirabel, an Australian organization that benefits children who are victimized by substance abuse. I was completely moved by this. I was about to sign up, but I really wanted to find an organization that would benefit children in the U.S., and/or my local area within the U.S.. I started searching and learned that police officers, firefighters and other emergency aid agencies use teddy bears and similar soft toys to help give a child something to hold onto when their world is otherwise falling apart. This is even more heart wrenching when you know that in some situations, specifically cases of domestic violence, the officer or other person can't do anything else to help the child otherwise or to help get the child to a healthier environment. In these cases, more than ever, the gift of a small, soft friend to hold onto, so the child can have at least one source of comfort, is immeasurable. I looked all over the Internet to find a sort of "central" clearinghouse for these efforts, somewhere that I could send stuffed, handmade bears or animals, somehow that I could help. There is no such agency. There are a couple of agencies that purchase new bears and donate those, when and where they can. And there is one agency that give you guidelines on how to donate on your own to homeless shelters. But no agencies that will take donations of handmade or like-new stuffed bears or animals directly that can be used in this way. I don't have the bandwidth to start nationwide, but I have to start somewhere. So I am accepting donations for new or like-new stuffed bears, dolls or animals that have a loving, sweet demeanor and would be a comfort to a child who is dealing with a traumatic situation. If you are inspired to make things by hand, I would love that, but they don't have to be handmade, they just have to be new or like new, clean and ready to give to a child who needs a friend. A stuffed friend you would feel good about giving your own child. They also need to have no buttons or other parts that could be detached and swallowed, so they are safe for children of all ages. I'll collect them up and make sure they get donated. I'll start by donating them to agencies locally, and then I'll expand as I can. I'll post all the details of what I find and what the agencies say as I have it. If you'd like to contribute a comfort friend to my drive, to benefit children in the U.S., leave a comment here, or e-mail me. If you'd like to contribute to the Softie for Mirabel program, to benefit children in Australia, please click here. Blessings to you all, and thank you for your support.