16 February 2009
more ways to help - edited
Smoke over the Yarra Valley
It's at times like these that you realise how Melbourne, despite its 3 million inhabitants, is like a village. Where we live the threads of the community web are strongly interwoven, and many of us know dozens of people who have lost homes, loved ones, had near escapes, are putting up evacuated families, fought the fires as volunteer CFA members, etc. The children's school newsletters are full of calls for help with housing families, replacing furniture and books, emergency accommodation, animal agistment and so on. But even in the faraway city where I work most people know of at least one person affected.
It's a village.
As in any village, people are rallying in all kinds of ways.
Jan at Sewjourn has organised a quilting bee to make handmade quilts to give (further down the track, once the essentials are covered) to those who've lost their homes in the bushfires. See here for details.
The call has also gone out to gather craft supplies to help re-stash a crafter, details here. If you think this is a little frivolous in light of the enormity of peoples' losses, read this and remember these projects are for the longer term.
Edit: that link doesn't work for some reason. Try this and click the button that says 'donate your craft supplies'.
Updated: all links now working I think. Thanks!
Updated again - I know some people think it's frivolous. I did initially, then read the quote below (on the ABC bushfire website) from Liz Tilley, survivor of the 2003 Canberra fires, and I thought again. And it's worth reiterating that many folk can't afford to make a monetary donation but can spare some of their existing stash. Others have already made a financial contribution and want to do something more.
"Make something. Some of our most treasured items are the ones that were made, with love, by complete strangers. The quilt that was one of the hundreds that arrived from all over Australia, the hand-knitted rugs that my children like to snuggle under in winter. If you make jewellery, make a few pairs of earrings or a necklace. If you make toys, make something for the children who have lost theirs. If you knit, make a winter scarf. If you sew, make some table placemats or a beautiful table runner. If you're an artist, paint a picture or frame a drawing. I still find it incredibly moving that people cared enough to put time and love into making something that has now become a new family treasure for us." - Liz Tilley.
Visit Handmade Help for more ideas on how to help by buying, donating or selling handmade items, and don't forget to donate to the Red Cross or register to volunteer.