Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gifts for the Gulf

I live on the Gulf Coast.  My Dad has earned his living directly from the Gulf since before I was born.  I grew up spending nearly every weekend on the beach.  As an adult, when stresses have had me feeling overwhelmed, I could always hop in my car and speed down to the beach and recharge by listening to the surf meet the shore and the call of the gulls soaring overhead.  It is heartbreaking to think that my little boys will not get to play on the beach anymore.  And every time I see a sign that says "Fresh Gulf Seafood," I want to cry.

I have wanted to do something to help, but have been unclear as to what can be done.  Yesterday I learned about Craft Hope.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

I read about what they are doing to help: asking crafters to make small towels and washrags to help in cleaning oiled wildlife.  And so, since yesterday, I have been making mitts and small towels to send for this cause.  It made me happy to knit a blue cotton mitt, thinking it might be used to save a dolphin or a bird.  And my serger helped me to easily make towels from some old sheets, a blanket, and a ripped beach towel.

But I have been doing some investigating today, and it turns out that not enough creatures are being helped at the moment.   A volunteer I spoke with today told me that most of what is being done is assessment and documentation of the damage, not much for recovery.  She told me that BP is somehow preventing agencies from actually launching recovery efforts.  She said there are not people cruising around in boats looking for dolphins in the spill to save. 

This is breaking my heart.  I cannot understand why BP is in charge of this cleanup!  Sure, they should pay, but they should not be directing the efforts! 

So, back to what we CAN do:
I have made all these towels, as have many more crafters.  I desperately hope that they will be used to help and that a great many animals can be saved.  But what is needed more than towels is money to fund projects that can make a real difference. 

I have been planning to donate profits from items I will be selling on etsy, and today I have discovered a whole shop dedicated to this purpose.  If you are a crafter on etsy, I encourage you to contribute something to Help the Gulf Coast.  If you have already done so, I thank you.  I also encourage everyone to visit this shop and buy some special gift for yourself or someone you love that will also be a gift for the gulf.  The proceeds from these items are being donated to OxFam America and the National Wildlife Federation.  Again, the name of the charity shop on Etsy is Help the Gulf Coast

I will be making gifts for the Gulf and will add them towards this cause as soon as I am set up on etsy.   I encourage everyone else to help with this by either donating something towards this shop, or purchasing something from there, or both.

I will continue my research into what is being done and what can be done to help. 
If you know more about real ways we can help, or about real organizations that are actually doing something to save wildlife in the Gulf, please let me know.

In the meantime, we should all be praying for the animals that live in the Gulf and have nowhere else to go.  Even if you don't believe in God, I ask you to pray.  Please God, help us to Save Our Gulf.  Amen.

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