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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Basics Charity Challenge

Though the drawing for 2011 is now closed please keep giving! There is always a need, and every bit, be it money, items or time, helps so much. 

For Basics Charity Challenge 2012 go here.

  You can scroll down to the bottom for details on the challenge and all the AMAZING prizes we have or read how it came about below. Deadline has been extended 1 week because of all the awesome response!!

I was driving down a main street here in my city and I noticed there was a large sign out front of the Women's Community House, a place for abused women and children to be safe when they leave an abusive situation, that said they desperately needed paper towels.

 Paper towels?

For some reason this hit me hard. We go through an immense amount of paper towels here in my house. Shane is addicted to the things.

   I see these sort of signs frequently and I do donate around Christmas and the start of the school year but for some reason needing paper towels seemed so basic. I don't know why. It's no more basic, well actually a lot less basic, then clothes, food or the safety this place provides.

  I shook my head and continued driving but it wouldn't let up. Here I am always thinking of fabric and just a little ways away someone needs paper towels.
Which I have to buy the premium brand of.

I kept driving.

Until I came up to a grocery store and I just couldn't go past.

I stopped and went in.

I went to the cleaning aisle.

I stopped and looked down.

Paper towels were on sale.

This was just too much for me. I grabbed as many packages as I could carry and went and paid for them. Before I really knew what was happening I was back at the shelter. I had to be buzzed in through two separate doors and then was asked to leave them in the lobby.
  I never actually saw anyone. I know this is for safety as abusers will use all sorts of rouses to get to their victims and workers at these type of shelters are in serious danger as well.

It hurts me so much to think of all these women and children.

I have a husband who would lay down his life for me and my daughter without a thought. He would destroy anyone who would hurt us. And these women didn't even have paper towels.
I know what it is to be scared. I know what it is to be lost. I know what it is to have to have help to get away from someone. I had family to turn to, who could protect me and my daughter.
And I always had paper towels.

the basics charity challenge.

My challenge is this:

   Go drive past your nearest shelter for abused women/children or the homeless.
See if there is a sign, if not call. Ask what they need.
Shelters are always in need of things like paper towels, toilet paper, new underwear, new socks, diapers, new hairbrushes, shampoo, tampons/pads, baby hygiene items, hand soap/sanitizer etc
It won't cost much.

Drop it off.

Come back here and leave me a message that you did it. You don't have to include what you donated if you don't want to, but it may give others some ideas if you do.

If you don't have a shelter nearby, or you can't get there, you can donate to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.Or in Canada the United Way provides funds to many shelters. If  you are international there is the Red Cross. To our Australian friends, feel free to give to anyone of the disaster relief funds for the horrific natural disasters you have suffered recently!

You can earn another entry by tweeting, blogging or mentioning the challenge on facebook. Just leave a separate comment letting me know, with a link.

Grab the button and post it on your blog.

I will draw on February 28th  March 7th 2011 which gives everyone lots of time to get involved.

Prizes. We have lots of absolutely amazing prizes donated by shops and companies who want to get you giving!

The Fat Quarter Shop have so generously donated a $50 gift certificate for their shop.

1 Choice 4 Quilting have also donated TWO $50 gift certificate for their brand new shop!

Kona Fabrics is donating 10 copies of Asian Fabric magazines!

Robert Kaufman is donating a FQ bundle

Mary Abreu of Confessions of a Craft Addict is donating  a copy of her book!!

Julie of jaybird quilts is donating a set of her patterns!

Rachel of p.s. i quilt is also donating some of her patterns!

Bari J's giving away another copy of her book! Read the review I did here.

Pat Sloan is giving away a copy of her book Redwork with a Twist.

Judi from Green Fairy Quilt is donating 5 of her patterns, winners choice!!

Moda is donating a FQ bundle, a roll of Luna Soy Batting and a "Basic Sewing Notions" Kit!

Kelly from I Have A Notion is donation a Fast and Free Volume .5 DVD by Patsy Thompson Designs

 and a Posh Posies Small Quilt Kit by Brewer Sewing and Quilting!

Daisy Janie has donated more prizes! A FQ bundle of her brand new organic line, Shades of Grey!!

Marmalade Fabrics is donating a $30 gift certificate!

Izzy & Ivy Designs is donating patterns as well! Thanks!


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Wenn said...

Isn't it the best feeling to give and know you put a smile on someones face?
I make dreamquilts for children who are really sick or having a very hard time. The thought that the quilt can give them some comfort is great.
Then once a month I go to the grocerystore were the local shelter has its ´add a product to your list´ drive. They do this once a month and ask costumers to add one or more products to their shoppinglist and donate it to them. Its a small effort to buy something they are in need of or go for the 2+1 sale items and donate the extra´s.
And right now in my hallway is a bag of towels to take to the animalrescue unit tomorrow.

Jenn said...

This is something we do regularly with the Womens shelter locally as well as the Ronald McDonald house, which we started visiting this past Christmas. I saw the needs firsthand when I worked as a volunteer with our local police department on our citizens police academy, and through our stay with our son in the NICU when he was born prematurely in 2008. This year each of our children picked their favorite Christmas gift they received, and re-wrapped them, and delivered them to families and kids at the RMH on Christmas Eve. The families were so thankful. Funny, the one thing THEY need- ziploc bags!

Sandi said...

There is a women's shelter nearby and I've been donating there for years.....quilts, pillowcases, totebags for kids, purses for women who arrive with nothing, toys and gifts at Christmas. Currently, I have challenged my small Bible Study group to each purchase a purse to fill with personal items that we can donate. I've done this in the past with my quilty friends and from a little over 12 of us we gathered almost 40purses. In our Bible Study group, we are also doing a challenge among ourselves for the food shelf. We collect our change and then toss it in our "Food Shelf" coffee can at the end of each month, plus we bring food then, too. Last month was our first challenge for this venture and between just four of us (their are six in our group, two couldn't make it) we filled the can with a little over $12 and when our food donation was weighed at the food shelter, it was 35#!!!! We meet Tuesday for our next meeting and challenge. And after the purses, we are going to do totebags filled with colors, coloring books, etc. that can be given to kids when they arrive at the shelter. I started a program at our church two years ago that gets members to bring Easter items and then I fill them with all the goodies they bring, add bows and make the baskets festive and they go off to the Food Shelf. When everyone brings just one bag of candy and a couple of baskets, etc. and I gather it all together, I can make it go a long way!! We have also done Christmas stockings. I cut them out and get some friends to help with the stitching, then fill them with toys, coloring books, candies, etc. I've also volunteered at the women's prison not far from here and donate materials so the women can make cards to send to their children. The women have their basic needs covered as they serve their time for crimes committed, but their children did no wrong and still need that special card from mom. There is a huge need in a many areas and if we all just give just a little, it makes a huge impact!!

Mego said...

You are amazing. Once a year we have a 'day of contribution' at work and I work in the garden of the local shelter so the ladies can have something nice to look at. We also have adopted a troop in Afghanistan that we send all the 'little extras' to. But your post touched me and this weekend my daughter and I called the shelter to see if there was something they NEEDED. They needed shampoo/conditioner that SMELLED good. We went to the store, smelled all the shampoos, made our selection and dropped them off at the shelter. You should have seen the lady's that met us at the door face! Thank you for such a good day!

Kate said...

Cara, thank you for organizing this, it is really inspiring to me. Inspiring because you reminded me to take the time to do something basic to help someone else. Inspiring because you moved so many others to act as well. And inspiring because of the outpouring of support you have gotten from fabric stores, designers, etc, wanting to help support this cause.

I have been working on the CraftHope project to make safe birthing kits for Haiti and at first I didn't feel like I had space to take on another charity project. But the more I thought about it the more it really resonated with me how simple this is, that people in our communities really need some very basic things and that it wouldn't take a lot of time or money for me to help out. So I looked up the wish list for a local women's shelter where I had volunteered once in the past... and as I read through it I realized that there were a number of things they needed that I had around the house and could easily part with. Like knitting needles and yarn for a craft group, and travel toiletries, and other things. I picked up a few other things on their wish list and dropped them off today. Now I am thinking that I should make time to volunteer again. Thank you so much for giving me a gentle push to give back.

Kate said...

PS I also tweeted about the challenge a number of times (mostly RT your tweets). Xo

Regena said...

Well, I facebooked you the other day and now I am back to tell you that my church is having a coat drive for the homeless and my family is donating some coats. Plus, I love the million pillowcase drive. I will make a couple of those too!!

Kristal said...

I donated dozens of crocheted hats and toothbrushes to the homeless shelter. This is a great thing to start. said...

In 1995 a shelter for battered women and their children was founded to serve domestic violence victims in 4 Upstate South Carolina Counties which had no such "Safe Harbor" available. Today there are 2 facilities thanks to the hard work and fund-raising efforts of many concerned citizens.
I contribute each year through helping with the Ministers' Cook-Off in Clemson, SC. Ministers from area churches prepare food to be sampled by participants who contribute by purchasing tickets per sample. It is a fun community event which has raised thousands of dollars for the shelter and has brought increased awareness of the problem in our area.
The impact of this effort is best described by the words of Jessica, a former Safe Harbor shelter client, “You hold this imaginary hand out to us. You wear this invisible tool bag. And there in front of us, you do the frustrating work of trying to help us fix the years of abuse. There is no amount of money that could pay you for what you give us. I feel like I have more than just a chance…I have my own life. Thank you.”
Any materials I might win would be used to make prayer shawls and lap blankets for the "Stitches from the Heart Ministry" of the Catholic Community of Saints Andrew, Francis, and Paul in Clemson, Walhalla, and Seneca, SC.

Beth said...

Such a tender post, and the comments it has sparked are equally inspiring.

A good friend is setting up a program to find temporary-to-permanent housing for people displaced from their countries of origin by violence. (a.k.a. political refugees). I have offered to make simple comforters for them, hoping that they will indeed by comforting.

Colleen said...

Without knowing about this wonderful challenge...last night at my quilt guild meeting (the first one I could attend this year due to weather related issues) I decided to participate in the Comfort Quilt challenges instead of trying to win fat quarters for myself this year. Once a month you make a small quilt for a local charity. So far this year the group has already completed 30 quilts and I intend to help that number grow!
Thank you for your wonderful story!

Cheryl said...

Hi, I am a non blog owner myself but love reading many quilters stories. I loved your charity posting. I make a habit year round to purchase an extra tube of toothpaste, shampoo, and three bars of soap every week. I let it build up for two or three months and than donate it to a number of shelters in my area. I collect socks, gloves, and hats in the winter as well. Actually this is a great time of the year to stock up on the hats and gloves for they are on clearance. It looks like your posting has shared the charity bug. Thank you!

Beth said...

I love this! It is fabulous that you are bringing this to everyone's attention! It's one of those things that seems so simple to most of us, but it's got to make such a huge difference for those who need these things! I will definitely be donating some items! We have a very tight budget, but I'm a big couponer and have a large stash of so many basics like shampoo, conditioner, tampons, pads, and toothpaste that I've gotten for free or nearly free. I think it's time to clean out the stash and start fresh!

Vickie said...

Finally, I have been able to drop 2 winter coats off to the homeless shelter! Thank you again Cara for reminding us that sometimes others need help, too!

Emily said...

There is a charity here that is called Project Share. Two times a month they have a distribution day where anyone, but usually those down on their luck, can go "shopping". They rely totally on donations.
The one thing that they are always in need of is baby products like baby food, baby wash etc. It has become a "habit" to donate.I buy what I need for my baby and then since I am already buying, I get a few more. THen I drop it off at Project Share on my way home. It is such a great feeling to be able to help out such a great community service.

bethanndodd said...

I read this and immediately knew I wanted to be involved somehow. I knew exactly who I wanted to donate to, Coldwater (they fill backpacks with food on Fridays so kids don't go hungry over the weekend. They also take donations other than food like clothes and basic needs). Now I want to contact our local women/children's shelter, Rachel's House, to see what they need. Thanks so much for getting me back into the giving mood. I had taken a break since the Holidays. I posted about this on my blog...

Thanks again! Beth

Anonymous said...

I am extremely blessed that my family has a foundation with the purpose to donate to our community. We recently received a grant request from a shelter - heartbreaking to read as the word homicide appeared more than once. They did not specify a monetary amount and would be grateful for anything and we were able to give them a substantial sum so that they can keep the doors open - tough economic times equates to less funding from the public and the government. Domestic Abuse is a phrase that should not need to exist but tragically it does and there are people who must retreat behind bullet proof glass to

annmarie said...

I am already familiar with our local women's shelter. Every winter I sew up 5-10 fleece blankets to donate to them. It is so much fun to shop for the fleece. Different sizes & different prints with solid fleece backs. Right sides together, I just sew around the edges, birth them & top stitch around all sides. They are much appreciated.

Jacqueline said...

You are amazing.

The ladies at the DV shelter requested some 'chick flicks' be donated. So, they got thier 'chick flicks' as well as a bunch of basics - tooth paste, tooth brushes, tp, wipies, diapers, and a few 'Marcia blankies'

*side note* Marcia is an amazing woman in my life that is like my second mom. She makes flannel blankies for all the babies in her life. When she read about this she decided she didnt want to enter, but wanted to help - thus she made a batch of 'Marcia blankies' in various sizes - some for snuggles, some for wee bitty babes, and some for the older 'little' kids that had to leave home with nothing. She is an AMAZING woman.

Tiff Blakey said...

Our local shelter said they were I'm need of dishes and pots and pans. I pulled out some of my extra dishes and my back up set of pots and pans for them.

KatieQ said...

When I first read your post I thought, "What a great idea." I got on with my life and filed it away somewhere in the back of my brain.

A few days ago, I heard that the sweet, quiet, beautiful blonde that my son (now 25) had a crush on in elementary school had moved back home after being beaten by her husband of less than a year. This lovely girl that always reminded me of a young Grace Kelly has a loving family that she could return to for support.

This morning I called the closest Women's shelter to see what I could donate. When I dropped off 3 tote bags filled with toiletries and a fourth bag with extra children's items, the receptionist said, "It's nice when the women can have full size items, most people only donate the shampoos and soap they get for free at hotels."

I can't imagine what it's like to think of a large bottle of shampoo as a luxury. Thank you for giving all of us a push in the right direction to help women just like us who are minus the luck we all deserve.

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