|Photo: Five women sit around a quilt, tying it with yarn|
Monday, Nancy of Wyoming Breezes wrote a guest post and shared with us about the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Yesterday, I focused on JustServe.org, and how that is one resource to finding organizations that need volunteer helpers. Today, I'd like to report on what I found when I used JustServe.org.
The #LightTheWorld campaign is encouraging everyone to Light the World, Light Your Community, Light Your Family, and Light Your Faith. I had ideas for the latter three, but I wanted to do something for Light the World that was more than just donating money to a cause (though that can be helpful, too, of course.) I turned to JustServe.org to see if I could find ways to participate. A couple of projects stood out to me: tying quilts for the Paradise, CA fire victims, and gathering supplies for Rohingya refugees who are living in Bangladesh. Stitching Hearts Worldwide was organizing quilting bees, and also was working with Lifting Hands International to round up donations of goods to send to Bangladesh.
|Photo: Dozens of crocheted scarves in various colors fill a box|
Krysti also invited me to come to a quilt-tying party, and I readily accepted. The quilts had been lovingly sewn by Stitching Hearts Worldwide volunteers, and were just waiting to be tied. When I arrived at the building, three quilts were on frames, and about 15-20 women were working together to get the quilts tied. As they worked, they talked about the news reports of the fire in Paradise, California. I hope that the recipients can feel not just the physical warmth the fabric provides, but also the thoughts of care that went into the making of the quilts.
It is easy to be overwhelmed at news of natural disasters or other tragedies, but although we can't prevent bad things from happening, we each, in our individual circumstances, and with our individual talents and natural abilities, can do something to help others.
The tendency is to poo-poo our own strengths, believing that because something is easy for us, it is easy for everyone, and to pit our weaknesses against others' talents. We are different for a reason, and our service to others does not have to require a Herculean effort to "count."
If I were in charge of sewing the quilts, for example, the people in Paradise would be lucky to receive one quilt in a year. Though I have made quilts, it doesn't come easy to me. Sitting down with other women to tie a quilt, on the other hand, is not difficult for me. Both sewing and tying were required to finish the quilt; having people self-select which part of the project they would do made the task go smoother.
What I'm trying to say is, while we are discussing the #LightTheWorld campaign, I hope that these posts are not making anyone feel guilty for not doing "enough." While the posts will highlight several different ideas and organizations, that does not mean that we should all jump in and volunteer for them all. As we go through our days, we can listen to the lonely, smile at the shy, or help the hungry. In other words, we can do what we can in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If you still find yourself overwhelmed, perhaps this video will help:
I hope you will take the time to answer this question: What is one strength you have? Whether or not your talents benefit people in Bangladesh or Paradise; they can help someone somewhere. As you go through this Christmas season, I hope you can see how you #LightTheWorld--because I believe you do shine!