A couple of weeks ago, I tentatively introduced the idea of a challenge and a few people said they'd be interested. It's taken me a while to learn what I need to know to administer such a challenge, but I think I have most of it figured out.
Here's the challenge: Make one gift per month in 2011 to donate to a charity. That's it.
My part of the challenge is that I'm going to make a quilt to donate to Project Linus each month. I also want to make some "britches for boys" to support Little Dresses for Africa.
I did this challenge two years ago and made it all through the year. I made children's quilts for Project Linus and also made quilts for them to sell at a craft fair. I'd say that items made to raise funds or items made and donated for distribution to those in need would both meet the challenge.
I created a photobucket site for us to post photos of the items we make. The name is Quiltfool Giving Challenge. My January Linus quilt is out there, as are pictures of a prayer shawl made by Hazel at Sew Crazy.
To post a picture, you have to be invited. To send you an invitation, I need an email address. So, if your email is linked to your profile and you leave a comment that says you'd like to join, I'll send you an invitation. If not, then please click my profile and send me an email with your email address and I'll send the invite.
If you post a picture, it requires my approval. You know how people that would post inappropriate pictures love to shock, so the approval is to keep them away. I get an email and will approve your photo within 24 hours...usually at the end of the work day.
If you've never done a long term challenge before, then there are a few things you should think about. First, if you can't make an item every month, don't let that keep you from participating. Everyone has different amounts of time they can commit and anyone that commits any time can take part and post your photos.
There's no fancy button for this challenge. If anyone wants to create one, that would be great, but for me to create one, I'd have to learn how and I'd rather spend that time on my next Linus quilt. But, I would ask you to help spread the word. You can't start too late, so even if someone wants to join mid-year or later, encourage them.
And, remember, these quilts are donations. Unless you're making something for a fundraiser, most donations are about giving a quality item that's simple and quick. Something you'd give to any kid you know for them to love to death. If you try to donate 12 hand quilted double wedding ring quilts, you're going to burn out before the snow melts, so keep in mind that you need to pace yourself. A year is a long time and 12 donatable items is a lot to make.
I'll talk more about Project Linus later, but I wanted to share some things I learned while I was attending their monthly meetings. They accept quilts, afghans and fleece blankets which are given to groups that often encounter children that have lost everything as well as children on extended hospital stays. In Austin, police officers can request blankets to keep in the car to hand out when they see a need. Fire officials can do the same, as well as social workers and crisis counselors.
I can't think of a better way to comfort a child who lost everything in a fire, or a child who has just lost a parent, than a quilt. Just something to have of their own. To cuddle up under and stay warm. Or maybe something to wipe away some tears. I like being part of that and hope you will, too.
So, let's spread the word and see how many items we can donate in 2011!
Thanks and take care.