The Return Of The Light

These weeks are the darkest of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, each day we have a little less light. Each day things are a little colder, the sun rises later, sets sooner and darkness overwhelmingly outweighs light, while it gets harder and harder to take a good blog picture of yarn on the front porch. (Maybe that one is just me.) For many of us, our moods head in the same direction.

Luckily, Northern humanity has figured out a way to get through.

Christmas. Solstice. Yule. Hannukah. Humanlight. Kwanzaa. Saint Lucia Day. Diwali. Yalda. Dong Zhi.

Ustreefam1207

All over the world, people gather their loved ones together, light candles, decorate their homes, put up trees, share a meal or exchange gifts with each other and all of their celebrations have one thing in common. They are celebrating (among other fine miracles and beliefs) the return of the light. All of these holidays happen on or around the time of the solstice. The magic day that follows the longest night, when the planet swings far enough over and whether you can feel it or not….the days get longer. Sun wins over moon. The earth begins to warm and another long dark winter is on it’s way out. (You may have noticed, what with February being what it is in Canada that this process is fairly gradual.) The balance shifts.

Baretree

Balance is what I’ve been thinking about this season. I’ve been listening a lot to people like Stephen Lewis and it seems to me that nothing at all is ever going to get any better in the world if we can’t learn to share our wealth. (I know when you’re trying to pay the gas bill it doesn’t always feel like you are rich, but I’m comparing globally.) It should be impossible, in a world is as decent as the people that I meet in it, that some of us should have three coats and are trying to drop a few (or more) pounds before we fête the season with more food and gifts, that others will starve or die of preventable illness and disease while we party on. I am convinced we can do better. I really am.

Kidslights1207-1

It simply can’t be that we are this rich, so far in the sun, that many of us will die of our excess, while others, as worthy and hardworking as we are, will remain so very poor that they will die of it. In 2004 the tsunami killed an estimated 229,866 people and humanity rose to the occasion with unprecedented attention and worldwide fundraising. Now, this year more than four million people have quietly died of Malaria and HIV/AIDS – and we, as a planet, are somehow pretty quiet about that. We need to step up like we have done before. We need to step up every day. We need to learn to share, in a global sense.

In thinking of this, discussing it with Susanna (and being the lady who sorts the emails for Knitters Without Borders) I’ve fashioned a challenge, similar to the one that put more than $120,000 in the sidebar over there. It’s easy.

Imagine that your family, however big or small it is, gets another member. A baby is born, someone marries, it happens all the time. Now, naturally…as is the case when someone is added to a family, they are welcome at your winter festivities and they will be fed and receive a gift (or, in the case of many of our families, multiple gifts.) When a new family member is added, no-one declines to feed them because you can’t afford it, no-one refuses to buy them a birthday or holiday gift because the family is big enough. You spend a little less on each other person, you spread your budget around, maybe if you’re really broke you make them a card… but you make it work.

The challenge is to imagine this person has been added to the list of people you care for in some way, and to give their share to my favourite good guys, Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders.

In short, and to the best of your ability, I want you to include MSF/DWB and the people they help to your family.

Canadians can give here

Americans here

Knitters from other countries here

MSF / DWB provides medical care to those in desperate situations and is transparent and neutral, without religious or political affiliations. They have won the Nobel Peace Prize and you can read their charter here.

Ornamenttree

When you’ve done that, send me an email (stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca ) and tell me how much you were able to give. (It is very helpful to me if you mention if that’s in Canadian or US dollars) When you do, I’ll add you to my list of Knitters Without Borders or, if you’re already on it, I’ll up your total. I don’t need to see a receipt or proof that you have given this gift, because I truly, truly believe nobody would lie about this. (If you are someone who has been giving a monthly donation since the first time we did this, let me know and I’ll update your total.)

Here’s the fun part. I would like to stun the world with the power of knitters. I’d like them to see what I already know about you. I’d like you to achieve something incredible and legendary. I’d like to you aim high and make other people inspired.

I would like knitters to double the number in the sidebar. ( Currently about $120 000)



This will be a big job. It won’t be easy, it might even pinch a little, but it can’t hurt as much as doing nothing, or it can’t hurt as much as being one of the people in the world who needs help for a loved one and is watching them die because they have the bad luck to live in a country where you can’t call 911. For my family to manage our goal, we will need to spend a few dollars less on each gift, skip store-bought hot chocolate, ask Santa to put a tiny bit less in the stockings, and bake a few less cookies. (I’ll have to knit from stash for a while, and that’s not exactly punishing. ) I bet your family could find somewhere to trim a little so you could share too. Maybe there is even someone on your list who would like it if their whole gift was a donation, made in their name. Dig deep.

For a lucky few of you there will be some Karmic balancing gifts, that will be drawn randomly from among the gift givers. Not the least of these are donated by Susanna, who has reached deep into her pockets and will give three gifts back. A Bohus sweater kit of your choice (be still my heart) a Blue Shimmer hat and scarf kit; and a kit for Green Meadow mittens.

Littree

These gifts (and some others, along with some stuff from me.) will be given in the same spirit of your human giving, not for the biggest donation, but by random selection, since I think each of you are going to give the absolute biggest gifts that your personal finances will allow, whether that is one dollar -or a thousand, and I’m not going to judge that amount, or provide a list of names of those who have given. I hope every single person who reads this blog manages to do their best. Share until it feels good – or wonderful, or fantastic. Share as much as you can. Imagine yourself explaining to your family or children about this, imagine explaining about global sharing, and then give, my lovely knitters, whatever this season means to you, and celebrate the amount of light coming into your life. I promise that it will seem a little brighter.

211 thoughts on “The Return Of The Light

  1. I doubt that I’m really going to be the first poster, someone will hit post before me. Double what you said about DWB, who I give to anyway, and love your tree. 😎 Glad to see you back on line, hopefully few minions of the webhosting company were slain in the attempt.

  2. Welcome Back! Just curious – is there a deadline? Our finances have already added Toys 4 Tots for the holiday season, but I’ll gladly give to DWB as T4T will be over for the year on 12/25.

  3. What a wonderful idea. Our Knitting Circle here in Kingston has been discussing donating our membership dues to TSF. Could we be added to the sidebar as a group?

  4. “Could we be added to the sidebar as a group?”
    Okay, I haven’t a clue what I meant by that. My fingers are working independently of my brain.

  5. wow, im in the top 10! as soon as i hit post, i going to donate 10 USD. i wish it was more, but hubby got laid off this month. we are asking Santa for January’s rent!
    Good to see you back blogging!

  6. Wonderful idea. I’ll be balancing my checkbook and even–I kid you not–returning a new pair of expensive shoes for the sake MSF. Healthy people are more important than new shoes. Maybe I’ll even return two pairs.

  7. Stephanie-You are truly inspiring and have touched my heart today. Thank you for being the extraordinary person that you are. What a lucky family you have!
    I will definitely support this cause in my father’s name, who always says he doesn’t need anything for holidays πŸ˜‰

  8. You’re on! An idea that I tried this month: I knit a sweater for a friend, and she donated my payment to KWB. So – I got to play with the beautiful fiber and try out a new pattern; she got a new sweater, and BOTH of us got good karma! Thanks, Stephanie, for helping us find the opportunity to help.

  9. Beautiful idea, Steph, to match your beautiful tree.
    Toys for Tots and needy families in my school have been gifted, but I will dig in and try to help DWB as well.
    ~Peace on Earth~

  10. Lovely posting! Thank you for remembering the people silently dying from HIV/AIDS and remembering fortunate people in Northern America and Europe (people who can afford to knit their own sweaters in their sparetime!) that they too can give and make a difference.
    Thank you! And enjoy the holidays!
    /VivaPia

  11. Good to see you back online. I missed you too.
    Thanks for reminding us of what’s really important. I’ve already been to MSF and my e-mail should be in your in box by now. Don’t be fooled by the different address from the one I normally use– I’m at work right now. (“I’m at work” — now there’s something I’m grateful that I can say)
    Cheers!

  12. I believe in sharing and I believe that charity begins at home. This is why I donate to the United Way off every single pay check. It is also why I bought toys for the Children’s Aid Society Kids. So I will honestly say, I gave at the office.
    I hope your plea encourages others to give more.

  13. It’s strange, I clicked over because I wanted to ask you to draw the attention of your readers over to a blog fund raising event going on in the food blog community called Menu for Hope 3. This year we are raising money for the UN World Food fund. They have already raised close to 17,000 but I thought if the knitters got involved, we could show them how fund raising is done! There are truly stunning prizes (no yarn, but still!) All the info can be found here:
    http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2006/12/menu_for_hope_i.html.
    If you think it won’t detract from your efforts, could you please mention it on your blog?

  14. Welcome back! What a wonderful idea. I think for the most part people are very kind and caring but in general a lot just need that final spark to make us actually do something. Thank you for being a spark and lighting up the day!!!
    I will be donating $25 Cdn.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  15. I love women banding together for good. I quilt as well as knit. My Bible study group adopted a family for Christmas—when I asked others to joing, I collected an additional $162.50 (American ) in gift cards plus 4 quilts to keep famiies warm. Knitters–let’s not limit this those who knit. Send this to all your friends so that more can contribute. Glad to have you back, Stephanie!

  16. What a wonderful idea, and what a great way to remind us what this season of giving is all about. I’ll be making my donation later today.
    Glad to have you back online!

  17. I am glad the blog is back, Ken has be rightly deified, and the time without the Internet has forced you to stop blogging and get the tree for the holidays.
    I’m in–and I’m going to combine this challenge with the one just issued by Wendy (over at wendyknits.net) to knit entirely from your stash for at least nine months of 2007. The full “rules” are at her blog, which I’m having a hard time linking to at the moment. The money I would save on all my yarn-buying excursions in 2007 will go to MSF/DWB.
    The annoyance of not being able to buy yarn for 2007 is nothing like the deprivation of the people MSF/DWB serves–mine will only be an irritating, piddly sort–but it will be a good long-term reminder to donate time and money to those less fortunate and the good souls that serve them.
    Stephanie, per usual, you rock.

  18. Sorry Steph, I gave what I could last year to TSF. This year I have given my all and more to Knitters Build a House. It’s not big and kosmic and all, I’m not going to win a nobel prize.. but dang it.. If I can help keep one family from being homeless. Well then I’ll have done something..
    Denise
    loomknittingmom.blogspot.com

  19. Fortunately, thanks to the analemma phenomenon, we already had our earliest sunset for the year. Though the days still get shorter until the solstice, sunset won’t get any earlier. For more info, search on ‘analemma’ (you’ll get some great photos back!), or there’s a nice, brief summary here:
    http://members.aol.com/jwholtz/analemma/analemma.htm
    Thanks for the new challenge! I’ll get my donation in soon, since my sisters decided to nix our annual exchange this year in favor of more charitable projects.

  20. Thanks for the pictures of the beautiful tree and the excellent reminder of how important it is to help others.

  21. I’ve been giving this past month, a few dollars at a time, to darfurwall.com. For every dollar donated, a number is lit, the goal being to light all 400K numbers on this “wall,” each representing a person killed in this horrific crisis. All administrative costs for this group is paid out of pocket, so 100% of the donations are given in equal parts to Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Save Darfur and the Sudan Aid Fund.
    I’ll try to keep a tally of the 1/4 that goes to Doctors Without Borders.

  22. My holiday gift-giving is solely donation gifts to nonprofit organizations (in honor of my friends and family) now. I’ve done it for three years and to my surprise, no one has thrown a fit over it.
    I’ll purchase one less book, hold off on getting that refurbished computer table & help out a bit =) Thanks for doing this again, Harlot!

  23. Right on, sister! I work for a humanitarian relief and development agency, and I have nothing but the highest regard for MSF.
    Someday, I would like for knitters everywhere to work together on a huge knitting-for-peace-and-justice project. Sometimes I dream about knitting a cozy for the White House with a big intarsia peace sign on it. However, one needs to start small, and giving to MSF is a good start.
    Sometimes it is easy to become jaded and cynical about the world, to think that things will never really change and that there is nothing that we can do to create justice and ease the burdens of the poor. However, when I hear or read things like your post, it reminds me that those of us who do act are waging war on apathy and greed and voilence. We might not have the critical mass necessary yet to change the power structure, but we can prevent things from getting worse, contribute to our communities, and increase our number.
    Happy Holidays, everyone!

  24. Beautiful post, Stephanie. I will definitely be giving (just have to balance the checkbook and see how much is left). Thank you for inspiring me and others to give to this worthy organization.

  25. Stephanie,
    I will be giving to DWB. I have also had the urgings…from whatever quarter…to start “Mittens from Grandma.” When my grandmother was alive, she always knit extra mittens for me to give to my students. I think it is time for me to start carrying on her work. I am not as quick as her yet, but I finally have my mitten directions pretty much memorized. If anyone would like to join me in knitting mittens to donate to schools for kids who don’t have mittens, you can contact me at tocsoc at earthlink dot net
    God Bless and Merry Christmas
    Sheryl

  26. Stephanie
    Your heart is as great as your talent. How wonderful that you use it for the greater good of humanity. We spoiled Northern folk in this hemisphere need a reminder of how well-off we are and how much we can help those who are desperately poor and ill. It’s such a tiny annoyance for us to do without a treat, but it adds up to the difference between life and death in other parts of the globe. Bless you for reminding us. I shall donate to MSF and will email you.
    Thank God for your caring.

  27. For the past few weeks there has been several discussions with my son about the spirit of giving. He’s joined me on visits to a convalescent hospital. We’ve also rescued some handknit blankets from a local thrift store and delivered them to a shelter. Try as I may to articulate why it is I/we do these things, I have not felt successful in my message. It’s like he “gets it” and feels the giving spirit, but at the same time, his gift list and concerns about what he will get just gets longer.
    Thank you very much for writing this. I plan to share it with him. You sum it up perfectly (no surprise there), and you are a really fine example of how to use your resources to make good in this world. Happy Winter *smile* ~bonnie

  28. Ug! You slaughtered a tree! Think of all the C02 it was removing from the atmosphere.
    Just kidding, slaughter away, it looks lovely.
    Happy to send whatever I can to MSF, just don’t rant on about global warming any time soon.
    xo Krista

  29. Knitters, don’t stop buying yarn! Yarn store owners need to eat, too. What about the third-world cooperatives, where widows make their meager living by spinning? The dollars you spend can do just as much good as the dollars you donate. Several of my friends got sweaters and scarves this year, made from recycled sari silk from Nepal.
    I’m going to continue to buy as much yarn as I can afford, from the nice hippies who run my lys. I’ll continue to check the labels, and choose the yarns hand-spun by those in straitened circumstances. Gotta allow people to make an honest living!

  30. thanks for bringing the challenge. this is what the in-laws on both sides are getting for Christmas this year..

  31. thanks for bringing the challenge. this is what the in-laws on both sides are getting for Christmas this year..

  32. Oh– and the profit from the last pair of needles I bought went to support a shelter for battered women.

  33. Nice post.. but let’s also remember to share some of that gifting and giving with people within our OWN borders… Local people.. probably even just a few miles from you, who don’t have caring families, hot meals or heat in their homes or medicine or toys for their children either. You just don’t get to read about them… there is no TV crusade, or websites set up for donating, but they’re struggling just as much and working just as hard to make it thru each day. And sharing with these people who really need the help will make you feel every bit as good. I promise.
    So I have to say it.. let’s also just remember to not forget “our own” and help each other out when we can.. and as much as we can… and not just during December.
    My 2 cents.. but thanks for listening.

  34. Well, that post made me cry like a baby. Thanks for presenting the challenge. I’m sure the knitters will make the goal!

  35. You are SO tactful. I would point out that the amount many of us spend on yarn, patterns, etc. each year could feed, well, a lot of people. The stretch you encourage people to consider when they’re giving (and you GO girl, for encouraging the stretch) could be as easy (not that it SHOULD be easy — it should be a stretch) as foregoing one or two luscious projects in the upcoming year and putting that money toward MSF.
    Wonderful post, wonderful idea.

  36. Stephanie – thank you for your sweet email – how right you are – we are all so blessed. I would like to mention that Heifer Internation (www.heifer.org) is a wonderful organization the provides animals to communities around the world. This year if you are struggling with what to get your dad or your mum – please take a look. You can buy part of a Knitting Basket for $50.00 (4 fleece bearing animals to help communites produce their own yarn).

  37. OK, will do. Good idea. Another very, very good cause. Balancing all the good causes is difficult at this time of year. You mentioned the lack of world wide outrage over other catastrophes. My step-son died of AIDS 2.5 years ago, even though he had access to drugs and health care. We donate regularly to AIDS related charities as well. None of us can save all of the world, but if we each pick one or a few, maybe we’ll make a difference in at least one life.

  38. grin,and lots of warm fuzzies while reading the return of the blog. and just noticed a spell-check in the comment box: very nice. happy holidays to everybody, absolutely everybody!

  39. Thank you for putting this time of year in perspective and reminding us of what it truly means. With that said… off to donate what I can.

  40. I went to school with a gentleman who is one of the doctors that is in Doctors without Borders. He always had a kind soul, and to see that after 20 years he lives his life caring for humans worldwide and not chasing the almighty dollar – amazing.
    I can’t give till it hurts because it already does. πŸ™‚ With our giving tree at work, local charities, and my knitting for charity. I will eek out some money somewhere(I haven’t gotten my children their gifts yet, so I can adjust there.) Will email you the amount once I post a donation.
    Thank you, Steph, for supporting such an unselfish organization!

  41. I’ve been doing what I can for DWB since my oldest child was born — my OB worked with them. I thought it was the perfect organization until my daughter was born and my doctor missed it because he had a flight out that day (Nicaragua, I think.) He checked on me on his way to the hospital and I was pretty upset — for a few minutes. Then better sense took over and I realized that I had a whole hospital full of people to help me and mine, and that many mothers and babies would get a much better start in life because of him. It was amazing how easy that delivery was for me. I’ve done what I thought I could, but for you, dear Stephanie, I’ll find some more. Merry Christmas.

  42. Lovely idea. Shall see what I can do. Do people normally attain massive credit card debt through donating like they do buying gifts? Would be an interesting study.
    Oh, and you forgot Chrismakkah.

  43. Bless you Stephanie.
    I have gone to the link provided and am writing a check now. American Funds. $20.00. It’s not much, I know, but I am not working this year. I have also assembled a large food parcel to take to the local Women’s Shelter in town. The sad incidents of domestic spousal/partner abuse intensify over the holidays and their shelter overflows with families looking for respite.
    May peace joy and happiness flood your family.
    Sherry

  44. Tried to email you that I made a donation to the cause but seems my email server doesn’t recognize your email address:
    stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca
    so I am letting you know that you moved me …… : )

  45. Tried to email you that I made a donation to the cause but seems my email server doesn’t recognize your email address:
    stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca
    so I am letting you know that you moved me …… : )

  46. What a wonderful challenge! That is so awesome, and I get paid today, too! Your tree is very beautiful, celebrating the season. Once again, welcome back, and Merry Christmas!!

  47. Thank you. I have traveled abroad a bit and the world is very very different away from this continent. We have SO much through no credit (really) to ourselves. I am grateful to live my life here with clean water, supermarkets, doctors, strong buildings, roads, trinkets, information by the shovelful…and grateful you’ve used this instrument to point our awareness to MSF. I’m in. Also, will be aware of stash versus ‘gotta have it’.

  48. I had nearly this exact same conversation with my sister-in-law last month. I told my family that I don’t really want more “stuff”, don’t need it, don’t have any room for it with all the other “stuff” taking up space. I asked my family to donate in my name to Heifer Int’l instead. I even gave them the link to do it online.
    However, I know my family. And god bless them for being so kind and generous with me, but I do know that they’ll buy me something instead of donating.
    To that end, when the dust settles on Christmas day, I’ll figure out how much they spent and donate that amount to MSF myself.

  49. I had just finished a round of wrapping gifts, then went online and read your blog. By the time I finished reading the post, my eyes were tearing up. Then I read it to my husband, while having to pause several times because I couldn’t stop crying. I could just shrug it off as PMS — but really, you touch me so much with your generosity and with the ways you have applied your gifts to such positive and motivating acts. And your clarity in detailing the problem on such a large scale. And your belief in human goodness despite the Western hemisphere’s large-scale insularity. I have no doubt that knitters will exceed the goal you’ve set. We already wrote a check to DWB this year, but we’re going to dig deeper and make an online donation too. I’ll email you with the amount once we do. Thank you for reminding us how blessed we truly are.

  50. thank you so much for keeping KSF going and with a new bump of motivation for all the knitters out there. when i got married in september, my husband and i asked for donations to be made to doctors without borders and we will certainly celebrate the holidays this year with a donation to them. (i’ll email when it happens). your support makes such a huge difference — thank you.

  51. Dear Stephanie, You have so blessed my life with humor this year! My husband and I were blessed to donate $100, thank you for sharing with us..have a very Merry Christmas!

  52. I will be in as well. I am sure I have something to contribute to the “gifties” as well. I will dig around for that.

  53. You are inspiring, in so many ways! I just donated $100, American dollars that is…beautiful tree too. Merry Christmas!!

  54. Joe’s growing a beard! That’s worth $5 a month to me, right there (of course, I’d require frequent photo-confirmation.)
    And not that anyone will listen to me, but as blog-goon-in-residence I’d like to observe that Stephanie has chosen to focus on MSF, and that attempting to hijack — excuse me, “divert” — contributions to your own favorite cause is in well-intentioned dubious taste. She’s set a big goal which will take some meeting. Stop trying to hitchike on her bicycle.

  55. Excellent idea although I feel like telling what I donated dims the karma a little. $50 to MSF with joy from my creaking credit card. Thanks for keeping us aware, Stephanie.

  56. I love that you give time to focus on these very necessary subjects, in a time where most people go bananas over gift-buying πŸ™‚
    I have just bought the best gift I will be giving this year – a mosquito-net for a couple of children in Africa, through the Danish Red Cross. It isn’t a big gift, but I’d rather save a bit on what I give my nieces here in Denmark, and know that 2 other children can live somewhere else in the world. I think my nieces will think it is just as great an idea as the rest of us πŸ˜‰
    Elisabeth

  57. Steph – Tonight we celebrate the first night of Chanukah in our home…we also celebrate Christmas and Yule, actually. We adopted a family again, and love finding presents for them. It’s true, while we’re essentially retired (“fixed income”) I am always aware of how we live. My beloved Muggle says “We’re the richest people in America – we just don’t have much money.” And we do support local causes, year round – but we can share some to DWB. My niece works in Africa with AIDS hospitals and clinics, we can donate a bit for her Chanukah present. Love your family picture (THANKS!), love your note – love YOU. Bless you, Steph, I’ll e-mail when we contribute.

  58. I grew up in Cuba in the 50’s. My mother was a Catholic Ghandian socialist. We got one present, home made, for Chritmas. To paraphrase Gandhi she said ” Until every one has some, you don’t get more”. Thanks for reminding me.

  59. Hi SPM
    I love your blog and feel the need to write and tell you that. I live in Prince Edward Island and for last 4 years work in a call centre. 9.5 hours a day, answering the phone and helping people get on the internet to surf and get email. Between calls, when the thrill of researching internet connection errors wears off, I try to have a couple of blogs to follow. For the last two years I’ve been reading a 23 year old in Newfoundland who also works in a call centre, and a 20-something Japanese Canadian woman in BC, called sweet-baby grass. Not sure what the common thread is, as I am 58 years old. About 10 months ago, baby grass went to LA to be a photographer for a rock band, and disappeared and Sheldon doesn’t seem to vary his daily routine much these days. So in October I started looking for another blog. I found the Yarn Harlot rated in the top 10 Canadian blogs. I started from the first entry and loved everyone of them. I relate to a lot of what you write about, being a lapsed sewer and knitter, and bringing 7 children from birth to adulthood. 5 all teenagers at the same time and my 2nd daughter’s prom dress was made from a picture in a book and 27 meters of silk. This woman should write a book, I thought in the first two days. Glad I held that thought. πŸ™‚ I’ve since bought and read all 3, and have pre-ordered Cast Off. I’ve knit 2 pairs of socks in my life, the first at 10 years old for myself, with a stylish initial L, and the 2nd for a brand new husband, at age 18. Please keep posting, I feel like I have an exciting new friend. I’m off to knit a pair of Xmas socks for my ‘Ken’ who is really a Tim, and although hetro, is alas, 13 years my junior. Good luck with your new MSF project. I will be contributing as well.
    Lynn

  60. Even though my cheeks are wet with tears, somehow my sick kitty doesn’t seem quite so important now–I’m in! And I’ll send you an email as soon as I figure out how much I can afford.
    Abby

  61. It’s so easy to find a little way to squeeze our budget. My boys came up with the idea of haircuts at home. I’m so pleased! I’ll learn a handy new skill, my kids will acuire some humility (heh), and we get the opportunity to share.
    Thanks for using your powers for good. πŸ™‚

  62. Thank you for your beautiful post, Stephanie. Readers of your blog might also like to know about Heifer International, which uses donations to provide food- and fiber-producing animals to families so they can become self-sufficient. They then pass on the benefit by donating some of the offspring of their animals to other local families. You can read about the organization at http://www.heifer.org/.
    This year my primary gifts to my family members are shares of a Knitting Basket. This consists of two llamas and two sheep, according to the print catalog I saw. The Web site just says four wool-producing animals, so maybe they also include alpacas in some regions? I’m just guessing.
    For information, click on the Gift Catalog icon in the upper right corner of the Web site, and scroll down to find the Knitting Basket (or any other gifts that appeal, such as honeybees or tree seedlings).
    Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season.

  63. I love the post and I’m glad you’re back online. You’re challenge is wonderful and I’m excited at the prospect of doing my part.

  64. Here’s my plan for 2007:
    For every dollar I spend on yarn at my LYS, I will contribute 25 cents to DWB.
    My LYS will make money, DWB will get money, and I can justify buying more yarn.

  65. I remember feeling sorry for myself once because my old, delapidated car had broken down again and I was wondering how I was going to pay for the repairs. Then I read that only 10% of the people on the planet will ever own a car. My perspective shifted suddenly and dramatically. Your post had a similar effect-I’ve been in my usual winter slump (not only is it dark, but I’m broke, blah blah blah). Now I realize that just because I have a little less cash than the gal who sits next to me at work only means that I’m at the lower end of the scale IN THE RICHEST NEIGHBORHOOD ON EARTH. I have a roof over my head, heat in the winter, clean water to drink that runs from a tap right inside my house whenever I want it to, medical insurance (which makes me pretty lucky even in my own neighborhood), and so much to eat that I am already contemplating my New Year’s Resolution diet. Oh, and did I mention–no one is shooting at me.
    I’m not broke. Quite the opposite. I have so much that I am in a position to share my riches with someone who doesn’t have clean water or heat or a doctor when they need one–and in most neighborhoods on earth, what will feel like a momentary pinch to me may quite possibly be the gift of a lifetime. Thanks for the reminder!

  66. Already emailed Steph with my donation amount: $30 CDN, which is what I would have spent on a Christmas gift for my dear mother-in-law; she passed away last week. This is to honour her. As others have mentioned, charity also begins at home, and as we have been going through her stuff (and ours), any surplus goods are going to local folks who need them through our Freecycle group (http://www.freecycle.org/ to find a local one to you). We had a ton of food, so a box is packed up to go to our local food bank. And I was pleased to be able to bump up my United Way donation by 10% this year over last. We work hard for what we earn, but sometimes it’s harder to let some of it go. Blessings to everyone who gives to anyone, now and at any time.

  67. the world is lucky to have you in it, stephanie.
    i can’t give much right now but i know that in future years, i will think back to what my checkbook looked like this year and say “if i could give $10 then, i’ll be damned if i can’t give $100 now”.

  68. You have the biggest heart in all the world. If more of us could just remember that we are all human together what a difference it would make. I will get back to you with a donation – this is one of the groups I think is making the biggest difference and deserves our support. Happy season of light to all!

  69. Thank you. I needed that. And if anyone wants a close-up look of what a little money and medicine can accomplish in people’s lives (in, in this case, Haiti), I highly recommend reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. I especially love the scene where an armed soldier during a coup bursts into the hospital compound, threatening to destroy everyone and everything, and challenges the doctor, Yeah, so, what are you gonna do?
    And the doctor looks at him, smiles with genuine warmth, and says, “Treat you and your family when you get sick.”
    Oh. Huh. Yeah, he’s right. And the soldier not only leaves, none come in after him.
    One person CAN change the world. Paul Farmer did in Haiti by tapping mostly one philanthropist in Boston. We knitters collectively can match that.

  70. What a lovely post and sentiment. It really puts things in perspective (particularly considering I just spent $145 on the yarn for the Interweave Knits cover sweater).
    Count me in for $40 USD.

  71. Done! Wonderful idea, Steph! Definitely gonna post about it on my blog, too.
    That is a *lovely* tree, and also a lovely picture of the triumphal family bearing-home-of-the-tree. (And I note Joe grows face fungus– wups, a beard for winter, just like my Mike did! Hee.) Congrats again on new blogspace, and Happy Yule!

  72. Dear Harlot, it felt a little like you were living in my brain when I read this. I too have been reading and listening to Stephen Lewis more and more lately. Did you see the Nature of Things special on him last week on CBC? Have you read his Massey Lecture series book, “Race Against Time”? There are too few people in this world with that kind of passion for righting wrongs. I challenge myself every week to do “something good”, whether it’s knitting mitts/hats/scarves for charity, donating to a local centre that provides services to homeless and disadvantaged people, donating towels/bankets to no-kill pet shelters, helping the food bank, etc., etc. Often I feel I’m not doing enough, and that it won’t make a difference. But I have to believe that one person can change things – even if it’s only to encourage one more person to join the battle. I’ll do what I can for MSF/DWB and I will pass the word to everyone I know. Blessings and joy to you and yours now and always! Chris

  73. I donated a smidge to MSF as a Tricoteuse a few months ago. (Now that I’ve been added to the total, I can add the button to my Tribe blog!) I plan to make it an annual donation, along with my public radio station membership.
    Yay knitters!

  74. I’m not sure what’s different about this year, but I’ve been particularly fortunate and have been passing that good fortune on for several months now. There’s always been something – a single mom with three kids whose house burned down, cleaning out closets in anticipation of moving, settling in after the move and finding that going from 2&2 to 1&1 meant duplicates could be parted with, etc. As for today it just so happens that I received my company Christmas bonus on today’s paycheck. It didn’t take much thought to figure out that it was a sign, so count me in. Merry Christmas, and thanks for the inspiration!

  75. Oh, yes, and welcome back, Steph, we missed you!
    (LOVED the “closet” explanation, though!)

  76. Hmm, what about donating to DWF/TSF/KSF/whatever, and only buying new yarn for chaity projects next year? If you want to knit for yourself, use your stash. if you want to help support your LYS, support local folk as well.
    I don’t want this to come off as a correction to or a criticism of Steph’s original and wonderful idea…which is still wonderful. So maybe I will shut up, write a check, and start knitting.

  77. You do have a way with words and a way of inspiring us. Thanks. I’ll let you know when I’ve contributed.

  78. I am so impressed by the knitting community and its dedication to helping others…as a new knitter, I was inspired to pick up the sticks by your blog, Stephanie.
    I am OVERWHELMED at how selfless the knitting community is, both with its shared knowledge of the world and its generosity towards others less fortunate.
    I will donate to DWB this year in your honor, YarnHarlot.

  79. This is my first visit to your blog, I was sent here by Susanna (thank you, Susanna, for your own generous gift to this cause). I feel like I’ve just fallen into a big vat of soothing balm that eases some of the hurt generated by the constant exposure to the pain and suffering in our world. I know I’ll be visiting again.
    I’m a university student, and in a class on “Globalization” we were introduced to a lot of different issues that cause hardship in the lives of people around the globe. Many of the students in the course expressed feelings of being overwhelmed by it all, of just wanting to shut it all out. I argued that if each individual would choose a single positive act of giving to others, at whatever level of financial and time committment they could manage, and perform it consistently, that they could make a difference. No matter how little one does, it is still better than doing nothing.
    My own “one little thing” is to knit hats to donate to my local food bank. The hats are knit from my stash and odds and ends of yarn that people give me or that I pick up at garage sales and thrift shops. It’s my take-along project, since I always have one with me, I am easily able to make at least one a month. I like the “Granny’s Mittens” idea, too, that could be a fun variation.
    Now you and your readers have challenged me to do more, and I like the way that feels, because I can see that I’m not alone in it or solely responsible.
    So, I’ve talked too long, but I will pledge $25 US)in addition to the $50 that I am sending to Heifer Int’l for a Knitting Basket.
    Thanks again for reinforcing my notion that one person can make a difference.

  80. It’s a good thing I fastened my seatbelt…someone is liable to get whiplash from how fast the MSF total is going to rise after this post!

  81. An excellent idea. I am trying to manage some little gifts for the women and children in our Women’s Shelter, but I will see if I can come up with some extra and donate to MSF.

  82. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for using your voice, that reaches so many, to stir people to give (whether it is to MSF or another cause dear to their heart).
    I am a professional fundraiser, and have spent YEARS convincing CEOs and boards that it is not the words of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates that prompt people to give (they have tons, they can afford to give tons), but the words of everyday people, who know that EVERY gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.
    Whether we support the same causes or not does not matter. But we all need to support a cause that matters to us, because there are so many in need. Happy Holidays, and thank you again, for making such a moving, heartfelt, compassionate ask.

  83. Just a question, I think this is a fabulous thing to do, and would really like to donate. I, however, don’t have a credit card! Thoughts? anyone?
    ((I do have paypal, btw… just no credit cards!))

  84. Thank you for this post. Because I am a grad student subsisting on a meagre minimum wage job, I often get down about my low income and soaring debt.
    This post reminds me just how blessed I am. I may have to pass on little luxuries throughout the week, but I can honestly say that I have all I need and more. I have never been hungry or without a place to live, and I am getting the education that women all over the world are denied. It is shamefully easy as an American to start feeling as if you are entitled to everything. Thank you for helping me put things in perspective, and you can expect my donation announcement very soon.

  85. While this is an admirable cause, I have problems contributing to it when there are so many who have no access to medical care in my country. You say we live in a country where everyone does, but this is not true. I am one of those stuck in the middle. I make “too much” to receive help yet too little to afford insurance or doctor’s visits.
    Yes, I can call 911, but I don’t. I gasp and wheeze and pray that I’ll start breathing again. I simply can’t afford to call. I have a disabled mother and a senile father to care for and any “extra” funds goes towards their huge medication bill each month. It means I go without meds for my asthma, my children go without well-child check-ups and only go to the doctor for life-threatening things. We have no dental health care, at all.
    Yes, I do pay the gas bill, but I don’t have the “luxury” of a warm winter night. Where I live, we would freeze to death.
    I do realize that I live in the lap of luxury in comparison to those in third-world countries, and we do try to do our part. My family saves all it’s change each month and we sponsor a child in Ecuador.
    I have a roof over my head, heat, lights, food and even a computer (POS that it is). So, yes, by global standards, we are rich beyond measure. But, again, I think we need to remember those in this country also, who do without the basics. We deserve help also.
    And yes, I know many are going to flame me for this. That’s ok. I’m allowed my opinion. I think anyone who studies ethics would tell you that my view is just as valid. To step over those who need help infront of you to help others far away is as unethical as to help no one at all.

  86. Jamie, if you go to the website, you will see that you can donate by phone or by mail as well.
    Thanks, Stephanie, for your inspiration (again). I will email you tonight with my donation amt.

  87. I had a pleasant surprise today. The company I work for, a huge internet company that everyone knows of, gave each of their 11,000 employees, as their corporate holiday gift, $100 to donate to the charity of their choice. I couldn’t move fast enough giving mine to MSF. It was a nice way to start the day and I think made me feel more “holidayer.”

  88. I’ve been meaning to make a donation. Thanks for the reminder. Now the challenge will be to see if I can donate on a more regular basis. Stephen Lewis is an inspiration.

  89. I’m in!
    What a great way to celebrate Solstice! Truly bringing light to the world…
    Blessings be.

  90. It’s so great to see DWB being given the “here-here” by those outside the medical field. It really is a FANTASTIC organization and I can’t wait until I have that M.D. on the end of my name so I can become an official Doctor Without Borders! You ROCK Steph!

  91. I have been feeling emotionally empty about the Xmas season for a number of years now. It is just a 100 meter dash to the gift giving finish line. Trying to find meaning in something that seems transparent and acquisitive. Also feel discouraged about how much money some people are given as a holiday ‘bonus’ while others struggle just to make ends meet.
    Just made a donation of $100US at MSF because I can and because it is my small part to try and keep the universe in balance.
    Thank you for your spirit and inspiration.

  92. a follow-up to lee’s comment: there do be one yarny prize in the Menu For Hope offerings: CA01, my li’l Cascade tea cozy (with its accompanying tisane and postcards). helping bloggy worlds collide for good causes (grin ;-))

  93. Just a reminder to those who may work at large companies with matching gift programs… don’t forget to fill out the forms so your company will pay their part! I donated $50 today, and just filling out a simple online form at work turned it into $100 for MSF! I know that not everyone has access to these programs, but most large companies have a matching program, so it’s really worth checking.

  94. Libi, Steph’s doing a really good thing. Try to be positive. There are enough great causes to go around, and this is one that’s particularly close to HER heart. Search the archives for “Ben,” I believe, and you’ll see why.
    Steph, right on. It’s the us-vs.-them attitude that has contributed to the huge wealth gap between the citizens of third world countries and those of us lucky to be born into relative affluence. To be cheesy, we are first and foremost “citizens of humanity,” not of the U.S. or Canada. I hugely appreciate all you do to make the world a better place, and will get my bit in ASAP!

  95. Stephanie,
    I know that your personal goal is for monetary donations. I think that is a wonderful thing. But there are other ways to help Doctor’s without Border’s. At our hospital, one of our doctors went to Africa for DW/OB’s. The operating room staff went through all of our supplies and donated outdate medicines and equipment for her to take with her. Here in the United States there are certain restrictions on how long things can be on the shelf. That does not mean that they are unusable. We sent much needed spinal trays, needles, drapes and other despertly needed items. The conditions that the dr’s operate in are so primitive. I encourage people that work in a healthcare environment, to donate outdated items to dr’s going to 3rd world countries to give free medical care, rather then discard them. Sorry for the ramble, but so much is wasted in this country that can be put to good use in other places. I commend your efforts.

  96. I loved your post, not having insurance myself and benefiting in the past from charity I quickly went to the US site and donated 50$ US. Thank you for eloquence of words, and may your holidays be blessed!

  97. Beautiful post, Stephanie! It is so easy to forget how fortunate we are and how much we can and should do for the less fortunate. Thanks for the reminder! I’m sending $30 USD to help this wonderful and amazing group of healers.

  98. Libi, I hope you’re not going to find “flamers” among the caring people who read Stephanie’s blog. I’m sorry for your pain. Shanalulu is right, there are so many in need, so many deserving, and this is Stephanie’s chosen work.
    This time of year, each day my mail has at least three requests from deserving charities. None are more deserving than DWB. More importantly, few are more efficient with the money given to them. Check the Charity Navigator, which gives them a 4-star rating. I choose to concentrate my donations where my own heart and head leads me, to try to make a difference where I can, as others will where they can.
    Count me in.

  99. Welcome back.
    It’s funny – every time I listen to Stepen Lewis, I end up writing a cheque! And now, you!!
    MSF/DWB is a great charity and your challenge is a great idea.
    Keep up the good work.

  100. Thank you Stephanie for a very inspiring post! I have never commented before, but today I was so moved. I am going to Africa for 3 weeks in January, to do whatever I can (which will no doubt be not nearly enough) I have donated to MSF in the past, and will certainly do so on my return!

  101. I’ve just been looking for a good time to donate! Thanks for the incentive! But…how would I also go about donating a gift to a giver? I’d like to donate a set of glass knitting needles (made by me) which you can see at http://www.marthakauppi.com. Do I send them to you? Or could I ship them directly to a draw-ee? You can contact me via my website to tell me how to do it, or email me at glassgemATearthlinkDOTnet.

  102. Thanks for the reminder of what this season is supposed to be about. I usually give a monthly donation of to MSF but I just added $5/month to it this week, a little before your post but in the same spirit. Speaking of which, I usually “give” my mum a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation for Christmas, and it’s her favourite present.

  103. I haven’t checked the sidebar yet, but I wanted to talk about the project I’ve started. I’ve taught my brother and his friends to knit squares for blankets for charity. We haven’t chosen a group yet. But wanted to get out the word that we’re trying to do our part to warm people who need it.

  104. Can I just say that I am truly inspired.
    I am a single mother with a chronically ill child, so our budget is always tightly stretched. Even so, I’ll give what I can and I’ll let you know.
    Doctors Without Borders is a project close to my heart. On top of my sometimes exhausting parenting duties I am also studying nursing full time – to be a nurse.
    My goal, once I’ve graduated and my son is a bit older, is to donate two weeks of my time once a year every year to Doctors Without Borders so that I can physically and tangibly make a difference to people in the Third World who are not afforded the most basic of medical care, let alone the very best of everything the world of medicine has to offer that has been responsible for saving my son’s life time and time again.
    I applaud your efforts Stephanie and like I said, I’ll donate what I can.

  105. Thanks for encouraging us to channel our good intentions towards something big and important. I’ll chime in that giving someone a gift of a donation in their name can (for the right people) be a welcome xmas present. I got World Peace from my uncle in the form of a Mercy Kit from Mercy Corps. So think of someone who has everything and isn’t a hard-hearted selfish person, and donate for them.

  106. Ok. Who has the tissues? Rams, you have them??
    Stephanie, what a lovely post; in spirit, in word and in photos.
    How timely of you as well. πŸ˜‰
    Merry Yule.
    ~Suz~

  107. I think that’s wonderful what you’re doing. This year we’re foregoing the christmas tree and donating the money to our local food bank. It suddenly felt over the top to spend that kind of money on a tree that will go in the chipper in a couple of weeks. We can be festive without the tree.
    Thumbs up to you! πŸ™‚

  108. I understand Libi as I too am caught in the too much too little trap – my children are covered under medicaid and my Husband through disability/medicare … I, as care-giver go without (no dr visit for 5 yrs, no dentist for 12) but how can I possibly grudge anything given to help the billions who have so much less than I/we in this, the “fortunate” hemisphere… Steph, I spent what little I could scrape from the budget to buy some presents for my kids this year — no sock yarn since september… really. I promise that after the first I will send what I can – ps my 15 year old fiber free daughter (what, me knit?) said she will turn in some of her books and cds and donate whatever she gets… so if you are willing to wait we will send in January

  109. Hi. I was Laurie-from-Michigan, but I moved to Kentucky after I got home from Iraq. I just went to donate $5 US to MSF. I was thinking of finding a charity that helps the people of Iraq(I haven’t looked yet, but there may be a few). I fell in love with a wonderful man while I was there, We hope to get him a visa so he can come to the US and marry me. I get first-hand reports of what it is like there. ” in constant interruption of electricity, gas is not available, kerosine not available.” I worry about him a lot, but I wish I could help all the people there, not just him.

  110. Dear Harlot,
    Is it any wonder why we love you so? I can’t thank you enough for putting into words what many of us feel in our hearts, but can’t quite express as well. I have been helping out a wonderful family of eight that have had a really bad year so I don’t have a lot of cash at the moment, but I’m sure that I can come up with something. However, I do have some lovely handyed silk roving that I would love to donate as a prize. I might have some other goodies that I’ve dyed too. Sock yarn anyone? If you could please let me know where to send it, I’ll get it out ASAP. What a cool idea for a great charity. Thanks.

  111. Dear Stephanie,
    what better opportunity to de-lurk?
    My family have made a no-gifts agreement this year, and now I know where that money is going!
    Please count in 100 Euros for the German Chapter of MSF. Thank you.

  112. wow,the star is biting right into the roof! let’s hope our donations can raise the roof too.
    love you; hug hug hug…

  113. Stephanie – great post, and thanks for the reminder about what’s really important this time of year (actually, any time of year). I’ll be making a donation today – we are very fortunate, and we’ll be happy to share that.

  114. I’ve been donating $20 (AUD) a month to MSF for a year now, even during the great job drought. Wow – that is AUD240!
    I hope some of that money is helping Sudanese – we have two lots of sudanese neighbour and boy have they been through some rubbishy stupid crap – but I am donating to the general fund cos that is where the money is needed most I reckon.

  115. Rams, I don’t think that mentioning other charities is “hijacking” what Stephanie is doing, and I think she is perfectly capable of defending herself!

  116. Welcome back. Isn’t technology wonderful-when it works?
    I am all for Doctors Without Borders. Check your email for a message from me about a gift donation.
    (sent from sybil@inch.com)
    Have a very happy holiday!

  117. Thank you for a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to warm, fed, and safe. As a reminder, checks are even better than credit cards, because the credit card companies take 3% of the amount for fees.
    My checks are going out today, not only for DWB, but also to groups that help those in my own area, that aid animals elsewhere, and to the local giant hospital, because without the local giant hospital I wouldn’t be sitting here writing comments on a blog.
    Again, thank you for the reminder, and for all of you, whatever holiday of light you celebrate, may it be joyous.

  118. Bravo to you for supporting MSF – I am a long term personal supporter of that marvellous charity after raising close on $200.00 for them a few years ago through a book sale. They truly do go – and stay – where others fear to tread. now I make a monthly subscription to them to continue to carry out their wonderful work.
    Heroes and heroines all.

  119. Put me down for $50 American.
    We have already donated through the mail, though, not through your blog. I hope this counts toward your goal. DWB is a favorite of ours, as are Veterinarians Without Borders, who care for the livestock upon which the world’s poorest people depend.
    If ten thousand knitters each donate only $12 (the cost of a small pizza) we can double that $120,000.
    It has become our family tradition that those teenaged and up amongst exchange token gifts (like a calendar) or handmade things, along with a card saying that “a donation in your name was made to Whatever Charity.”
    This year it is DWB and needy kids we “adopted” from the Giving Tree at the YMCA. You pick a card that says something like “Girl, age 12” and you buy things on the wish list, wrap them and return the gift, with the card attached, to the YMCA for distribution.
    I’ll link to your blog from my blog about this, too.

  120. Well, as I said, I got flamed. Yes, I’m a horrible person for thinking of those around me first, rather than those thousands of miles away.
    DW/oB is great, but again, if they do this free outside our country, why not set up a clinic and once a month work for those who have the SAME EXACT NEEDS here. We don’t qualify for help, we don’t qualify for the “free” clinics. We are those caught in the middle.
    Again, I see it as stepping over the needy here to help the needy there. All are still needy, but because we live in a “rich” country, we are told that we see it as “entitlement” rather than having a need. I don’t feel entitled, I feel ignored and stepped on.
    It would be nice to live in a country where my parent’s medication bill wasn’t close to $1,000 a month. That would be anywhere but this country. So much for being rich. It would be nice to live in a country where those same doctor’s who are in DW/o B wouldn’t refuse to see a patient unless they have insurance or can put $150 in cash upfront (or more).
    I’m not saying don’t give to this. I’m asking people to stop and remember that not everyone in this hemisphere lives high on the hog and has no problems and to quit trying to guilt trip everyone into giving, like we have it all. We don’t. Poverty, ill-health and need are in every single corner of this planet. Just remember that, more than anything.

  121. Thank you, Stephanie.
    $100 USD to MSF/DWB now. We’re picking 2 charities to support year round in 2007, in an effort to teach our nearly 4 year old about responsibility and compassion close to home (the local children’s shelter) and internationally (MSF/DWB). I’m destashing, the husband’s forgoing at least 1 CD/book a month, and the little man has agreed to give up half (!!) his chore rewards to the cause. We’ll let you know how much this generates!

  122. I’m with you-the older I get, the less stuff I want cluttering my life. What gifts my husband and I are giving this year are mostly consumable & homemade(or handknit and not consumable!) Our parents routinely donate to charities in lieu of gifts, and they don’t want gifts from us, so we are following suit. We are in for $50 this year, and thanks for the wonderful post. As if the knitterly inspiration wasn’t enough…oh, and a very merry solstice to the whole harlotty household!
    Kathe

  123. Libi, you won’t find flamers here and we all your your circumstances improve.
    Steph’s statement of having available health care stems from the fact that she lives in Canada, where everyone can go to the doctor.
    Unlike us Americans.
    Wishing you well,
    Dez
    P.S. — Stephanie I just linked to your cause on my blog — http://www.mambocats.blogspot.com

  124. I am donating $50 USD in honor of all cancer patients who are in remission. I had a bone marrow transplant earlier this year, and am in remission, so donating to try to save the lives of others is a good reminder of how fortunate I am.
    Stephanie, you are remarkable. I wish you and your family health, love and peace in 2007.
    Betty

  125. what a great blog!!! hurrah, hurrah! thank you!
    yes, indeed we are so priviledged it almost hurts.
    MSF has long been a favourite on our list.
    our children are grown, and some years agao we decided that we really do not need to give each other gifts, rather to give the amount that we would be spending on gifts to a worthy cause. and man, there are many!
    we now have a foster child in africa, the “children” support a village in eritrea, covennant house in toronto. it is good!
    your tree is beautiful!

  126. Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for once again drawing our collective attention to such a worthy cause at this time of year. People tend to lose sight of what is happening in the world as they get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I already have 2 sponsor children, but I will try and stretch my budget when I get paid on Friday and let you know how much I can manage.
    Thank you again for reminding me of the big picture.

  127. I will go soon and donate for this year to MSF. I first gave after I read your appeal after the tsunami. My husband and I know that we are blessed with jobs that we are in no risk of losing and which provide us with all the benefits that we could wish from employers. We have children who are healthy and studying at good universities and who will probably have good jobs when they graduate. We have so much more than most. We try to give of our time, our talent, and our treasure. It is never enough.
    If MSF/DWB is not the right charity for you, give to something else. You do not have to give of your treasure if you have none. Time is a wonderful gift. And most of us have the talent of knitting and that can benefit many.
    Stephanie, thank you for reminding us that most of us have no real needs or wants.

  128. Done and Done! After two days with no power, no heat, and no hot water, a donation to Doctors Without Borders seems like so little to do, to do so much good.

  129. About 3 million people have died in Darfur. While the UN chooses to respect national sovreignty, people can also help out. Yes, the UN has piece keeping forces, but that really isn’t the problem. Most of the deaths in Darfur and Sudan have to do with lack of resources like food, water, and shelter. We can definately do something about this. Write letters, push for action from your government, donate things/money/basic resources, do SOMETHING. We can’t just look the other way, it’s our turn to do something.
    Sorry, shameless plug.
    Welcome back to the intarweb m’dear. Welcome back, we’ve missed you.
    Thanks Ken. Thou art our savior. *bows*

  130. Libi, I don’t see any flames aimed at you. But I’ve had my times of living hand to mouth (right now is kind of one of them) and when things honestly are rough, it’s tough not to see everything bad as aimed at you personally. Thank you for posting. Thank you for reminding us that everyone is our neighbor…even our neighbors. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reminding us that we need to do something about it. You have no idea how many people are now knitting and praying for you that, as someone else said, your circumstances may change.

  131. My donation has just been sent and I have sent you an email. I relate to your writings and am honored to be able to help out here as well as with the charity that I send my knitted items (OnlineAngels).I just wish I could send more.

  132. I support aid organizations here, there, and everywhere.
    Since donating to various organizations, Doctors without Borders included, I have received more junk mail-at least twice a month, asking for more. I’m starting to feel that I’ve gotten my various $20’s back in junkmail.
    Is there anyway to donate and say “give all my money to the kids/sick/animals/etc” and don’t send me wasteful dollars worth of mail? I’ll always give, that’s just me-but I want to know my $$ are in the right place.

  133. Hi Steph,
    Don’t know if you will even see this — you get so many posts! — but I wanted to offer a prize item for the donation drive. I would have done this privately, but have no idea how to contact you, so just shoot me an e-mail if you are interested. Thanks, and hank you for drawing atention once again to such a worthy cause. ~Heather

  134. Watching the total in the sidebar go up the way it has over just two days, I have never been prouder to wear my KWB t-shirt. (I have also never been quite so painfully aware of how much weight I’ve gained over the year, but that’s another issue entirely. ahem.)

  135. you know, i’ve been without power for almost 72 hours now, here in the wind ravaged pacific northwest, and wonderfully enough, i’ve seen nothing but kindness from people throughout. i keep reminding my 6 year old that we are really not that bad off — we have food, water, a home, and a lot of sweaters and blankets. and now we have parents who regained power and are offering us a hot meal and hot shower and a little internet acess. even before i read your message, stephanie, i was planning on upping my annual donations, having been so reminded of how good we have it, even in the middle of a small crisis. so, as soon as i have power back and can balance the books, i’ll be sending you an email with my donation details. merry christmas and happy holidays to all!

  136. Libi, Stephanie is Canadian. In Canada, everyone does have access to medical care, no matter what your salary. Everybody pays for it through our taxes.

  137. Count me in! I went to the website to make a one time donation -and got inspired to become a “Field Partner” with a repeating monthly donation .. heck it’s only $30 per month ($1 per day)– it’ll be a stretch — but this all fits so neatly into my still forming plans for this next year for giving more in several areas (habitat working, charity knitting, etc)and I am so fortunate to be able to give … Blessings on you, Stephanie, for being who you are.

  138. What a nice reminder about what this season is meant to be–giving to others.
    Doctors without Borders is a very worthwhile organization, but this year my family will be donating to “Women for Women International”.
    http://www.womenforwomen.org
    This organization works with women in countries that have been damaged by war. They provide training and support to help women help themselves and other women. The web site gives additional information, but I love this particular quote. “Stronger women build stronger nations.”
    Charity Navigator is a great tool to find out more about charities that you may be considering donating to. Both Doctors without Borders and Women for Women International have 4 star ratings.
    http://www.charitynavigator.org
    Thanks to everyone who this year will try to make life a little better for someone else in this world.
    Barbara

  139. this is such a nice post to wake up to. it’s proof that liberalism isn’t the boogie-man it has been made into in america, and decent people still want to help others, wherever they live and whatever color their skin is. not to get on a soapbox, but this post is more proof to me that knitters should rule the world. i’m off to donate.

  140. Hi I’m new to knitting. Just became addicted earlier this month. I also just picked up your book Knitting Rules. I laugh so hard I cry when reading so any remaining hope my husband had that I hadn’t completly flipped are gone!
    Love the book and your blog!
    Thanks so much!

  141. I can’t help noticing…and being gratified, that although people who comment here do not always agree, the vast majority are polite and respectful. That is extremely reassuring!
    I must disagree in one important area with Libi…the needs of people that the DWB are treating ARE different…it’s just not medication for elderly or basic health care that they are giving…it’s also emergency care for kids who’ve been shot, or stepped on bombs…and other horrific traumas, in addtion to the standard ills of poverty/displacement/war of dehydration, starvation, etc. Some of it we (America, directly and indirectly) have caused. So I look on it as trying to fix how we’ve hurt others….

  142. A wonderful cause Steph. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Libi, you are in a super tough spot. I work in a church and we are especially helpful to people in your exact situation. The folks that fall through the cracks. You have my sympathy. That being said it is still a wonderful cause that Stephanie has chosen to support and I will support it as well. We can all choose to give our treasure to many different charities. Hopefully some of that treasure will be given to help good folks like yourself.

  143. You have no idea how lovely it is to see your shining self! After a week of horrific flu and bronchitis without health insurance, the MSF cause is hitting me pretty hard. Here we can buy medicine in any of our thousands of pharmacies. Labored breathing and congestion are no fun after days of high temps and illness, but in many places I would have died. Co-workers will get the gift of a small batch of baked goods and as hearty a donation as I can muster together. It is a time to give thanks for our blessings. Welcome back!

  144. I am so grateful for you – for your wisdom and perspective, for the steps you take to continue to care for the world. Thank you for reminding us all how we, at times, throw money thoughtlessly at things while that very same money is what is needed to keep someone alive. In a season of giving, this is what it’s about. Thank you. I’m sending you an email to let you know about my donation. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  145. As I was reading these responses, my iPod played me the Skydiggers beautiful rendition of the carol “Good King Wenceslas”, which ends with the line, “Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.” Coincidence? I think not (they say these things are psychic…) A blessing, either earthly or spiritual as you would prefer, on all who give, and whipped cream on Stephanie’s share!

  146. Knitterhood is indeed powerful. I commend you all to Peter Singer’s article – Danielle’s earlier posting includes a link to it. In it he tells the interesting story of Bill Gates reading an article about a virus – rotavirus – that kills half a million children a year. And he said to himself, “How could I never have heard of something that kills half a million children every year?” And that’s what led him to move toward philanthropy, and to embrace the idea that every human life has equal value. Starting at home is good – but what’s home? Our town, our state/province, our country? Home is the earth; disease, climate change, pollution — these problems know no borders. Thanks, Stephanie, for your work for DWB.

  147. Sorry to post here, but I can’t seem to get my email to send you an email. I wanted to let you know that I donated $35.00 to Doctors w/out Borders. My name is Tracee Teeter,
    My e-mail is tjackson7@indy.rr.com
    Thanks,
    Tracee Teeter

  148. Dear Stephanie, I have sent a $10.00 donation to Doctors Without Borders in American money. Have a merry Christmas with your family. Jan

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