Needs and wants

Things are a little different here at Chez Harlot today. With the recent nightmare of events in South-East Asia I thought it was time for me to try and make a small difference.

Meet Ben Chapman.


Ben is the Director of Human Resources for MSF Canada. He’s also a pretty decent brother-in-law with the good sense to have feet a little on the smallish side. Ben’s wearing his Christmas present socks here, known to all of you as December’s computer socks.


Ben’s life freaks me out. Ben has saved lives before he finishes his coffee in the morning. While I knit in my cozy home all December, Ben woke each morning in the Ivory Coast. He missed his wife and daughters, and they missed him. Ben and MSF (Doctors without borders) attempt to bring medical attention, human rights and a voice to parts of the world that know suffering beyond what you can imagine. They are without religious affiliation and remain completely impartial. MSF is the Harlot family charity of choice and in the wake of the tsunami I can think of no better way to start the new year than with compassion and simple human concern extended to those that need it most.

By any North American standard, I am not a wealthy woman. Still, there has never been a day that I went hungry or wondered where I would put my kids to bed. I choose between my clothing in the morning and at least once a week I throw away food that went bad before we could eat it, buying fresh without even feeling a pang of decadence. I have never wanted for anything more than “more” of what I already have. I am…to most of the people that the tsunami effected, obscenely wealthy…

As are you.

Here then is My MSF Challenge. For one week do this:

1. Each and every time you think about buying something…ask yourself if it is a need (food, water, shelter, medicine or safety) or a want. Be honest. Yarn is not (sob) necessary. Latte’s are not necessary. A seventh pair of shoes? Fabulous pair of new jeans? Eating out? Could you skip a haircut? Search yourself and ask, do I need this, or would the money be better spent on someone whose home, or village…or children, were just completely swept away.

2. At the end of the week (or sooner…if you don’t need that much time to think about it) Donate the amount of money that you didn’t need to MSF. There should be no reason why every single person who reads this blog can’t find at least a dollar.

MSF Canada (The government is matching donations)

MSF United States

MSF International

3. After you donate, email me the amount of your donation (my address is in sidebar on the right), your name and email. I don’t care how much your donation is and I don’t need any proof that you made the donation. (I believe that that planet would smite you for lying about this sort of thing) I’d like to know the amount that you gave only so I can keep a running tally in the sidebar. I’ll know that whatever you give is your best effort, given your unique circumstances.

4. I’ll keep a list of the contributors while I knit my next project…MSF


Mittens Sans Frontiers. (Mittens Without Borders)

When they are finished (they will be Latvian and they will have braids) I’ll draw a name from the generous souls who gave to MSF and helped Ben save lives, and I’ll mail them the mittens.

Who’s in?

116 thoughts on “Needs and wants

  1. I was telling a friend about Doctors without Borders yesterday when we were speaking about a place to send donations.
    Thank you for putting a face on an organization I have donated to steadily for past few years.

  2. That’s a wonderful idea, Stephanie…all too often we forget just how easy our lives are compared to so many others in the world…thank you for posting the links to these organizations…
    A wonderful way to start the new year.

  3. Steph: I’m afraid we are in the obscenely wealthy by global standards group as well. It’s good to bear it in mind because we are looking at private college tuition next year and I delude myself I’m impoverished (or will be) so not so. Anyway, we are giving to Mercy Corp. so I don’t qualify for the prize, but that’s OK. You might suggest to people to think about giving monthly for 6 months or a year. People will start forgetting soon, but the need won’t go away.

  4. I had already decided to donate my “yarn money” for January. I just hadn’t decide which organization to give it to. MSF was in the running right next to the Red Cross. I’ve decided on MSF. Thanks for your help, Steph! The Harlot Clan are uber-crunchy, I swear. 🙂

  5. can americans donate to canadian msf? with my government’s shameful disinterest in the state of our global village, i’d much rather donate where it will count twice as much

  6. I’m in! I’ve already sent $$ to the Red Cross – I’d be happy to also donate to Doctors Without Borders… beginning with the money I earned knitting for people at work.
    My 8-yr-old nephew doesn’t know the fate of one of his classmates, who went back to Sri Lanka with his family over the holidays to visit a sick relative. We’re all still hoping for the best.

  7. Dear Steph…count me in! Life is tight, especially after Xmas, but you are right…I am not hungry, without shelter, or lacking clothes. Nor is my child, and my cats are obscenely spoiled with quality food, too. I will do what I can to donate come payday…and I will do it with a smile. I’m not going to feel deprived by missing out on a haircut or a latte…instead, I’m going to help that some of the people affected can benefit from my relative wealth in the face of this great disaster. Thanks for reminding us, in this new year, what really matters!

  8. Thanks for getting me motivated Steph. Like a lot of us, I have shed many tears over what is happening. Now I will go to my checkbook-it really is the very least I can do, but in the end I hope it will make a difference.

  9. I’m in, and I’m donating to the Canadian site for the matching funds. Oh, and I live in Atlanta where there is little need for mittens. How about knitting a Latvian bikini? I’m pretty sure I’m going to win this one!

  10. Hey Steph. My husband donated what we could yesterday to our church fund which is sending relief down there. It is so important to help others in need. Thanks for organizing this. It is so inspiring to see strangers unite in service and concern.

  11. Steph, this is a brilliant idea. I haven’t quite made up my mind where I want to donate (I too am looking at Mercy Corps – It’s sort of local and I know people there), but I am also thinking, why not both?
    I regularly remind myself that, yeah, I live in a single-wide mobile, but then I look next door at the Hispanic family with 9 in the same space I bitch about 5 in. And then I remind myself that in other countries, I would be considered wealthy!
    Thanks for the reminder, it is sooo easy to get caught up in how “poor” we are, in the richest country in the world!!
    You rock Steph. And I mean that, even if I don’t (sigh) win the mittens. ;-D Lisa in Oregon

  12. When my husband and I were discussing where our Tsunami donation should go, MSF was our first choice. Thank you for the reminder.

  13. I too am among the obscenely-wealthy-by-comparison.
    I sat in my new home (our first ever) and watched the news reports with my family.
    How lucky we are to be born in a land of freedom, peace and security.
    Count me in.

  14. I am humbled, sitting at my cushy desk in my cushy office & I’m in. My parents (both MDs), have already donated to the US MSF. I’ll do the same right now.

  15. You make it very easy and humbling. The sorrow in this world could make any of us cry a river. Thanks for reminding us of how easy it is to take our comfortable lives for granted.

  16. I think you came up with a fabulous way to bring this to people’s attention. The yarn goddess will be proud of you.

  17. I am in. I can’t imagine anyone who would read your blog who would not be willing. As soon as I tally it, I’ll email you. Can Americans donate to Canada’s MSF?? As Maria said, I’d like to see my money count doubly if possible.

  18. Thanks so much for this blog challenge, Stephanie. It’s great to see immediate donations. We all need to remember a couple of important points:
    1) Small local organizations do have a personal appeal, but it’s the more established agencies – MSF, Oxfam (my own fave for decades), the Red Cross – who are best experienced and organized for actually delivering the aid.
    2) This disaster and others are long-term. Long after some other story is on our front pages, the hit countries will still be trying to desalinate their crop soils and deal with other late effects. My plea is that everyone making a donation now will seriously consider signing on as a regular monthly donor to one of these agencies. Any time you get a raise in pay or a lowering in routine expenses, consider increasing your monthly contribution.

  19. Dear Steph, please count me in. I had already made the decision to donate to MSF on a monthly basis. Your reminder got me off my arse to do something about it. Thank you.

  20. I work in the nonprofit sector, and I can assure everyone that the relief organizations and NGOs you choose to support are grateful for every nickel you send.

  21. I second Judy’s comment — that was my choice when I made my donations anyway, because I believe good charities need to make difficult decisions where the money is best used, and I didn’t want to hamstring them to ONLY use it for this present crisis. What about the next crisis that might happen tomorrow or next week, or the bills that need to be paid for LAST month’s crisis? They need the flexibility.

  22. Donation made – how satisfying is it to know that our government is making good use of tax dollars and doubling my donation. Later today, I’ll be signing up for MSF’s Partners Without Borders program.

  23. What an awesome idea, Stephanie. Not only raising money, but raising awareness as well. Count me in!

  24. I already gave to MSF, and two other charities, to get in under the wire for 2004.
    This won’t help Americans, but I saw somewhere that Canada extended the deadline a week or so for contributions that count as deductions on 2004 taxes.

  25. Thanks for making us all aware of the true reality of our situations. I already donated to the American Red Cross, but am happy to tighten the belt a little more to send to MSF. Happy New Year!

  26. Thanks, Steph, for raising awareness of the tremendous need in southern Asia.
    Our donation will be given to Church World Service (, as that is who I work for and my family has been long-time supporters of this particular non-profit. But there are many other humanitarian aid organizations – including Doctors Without Borders and Church World Service – who will certainly use any donations appropriately. The need is certainly great.

  27. Thanks for this Stephanie. Our family’s gift to the world this New year’s Eve was a donation to MSF; the world’s gift to me was watching our three girls sleep safe and warm. Count me in again for the week coming.

  28. I’m in. I will also propose planning a special Event for MSF at our next Home & School Assn meeting for my son’s school. I know kids like to be involved and I can’t imagine a better time to teach them about charity and give to those less fortunate.

  29. Like many, I already donated to the Red Cross to get in under the 2004 donation deadline. But, I’m in on this as well. Thanks for the reminder, and the face on a group.
    I also want to remind those readers who are employed by a larger company to check into corporate matching funds… the company I work for will match my contribution (up to some amount per year). If yours does, and you don’t file – you’re leaving money on the table that could be going to the same good cause!

  30. I had just yesterday been preparing to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders – I was awaiting the checkbook balancing to see what I could send. As someone posted in their comments – having a face to relate to the organization is an amazing thing. 🙂 And thank you for putting some perspective around it – we really do take a lot for granted, don’t we?
    I’ll be sending my donation at the end of the week – after thinking carefully, as you pose. 🙂 I am so in.

  31. Once again, you are our inspiration.
    I have been wondering how one person in a country far from the tragedy could possibly make any significant difference. Answer: Join with other like-minded people and together, we will be able to offer good support. I made my donation.

  32. MSF is indeed one of the best organizations out there – my DH and I donate to them (usually in the range of $30 a year) and to Oxfam (same range) and the ACLU ($25 a year) – and the other $3000 and many hours a year goes to the PCWF and the PCRF, which are organizations that fund medical and other infrastructure needs of Palestinian children whose homes and lives have been devastated by the Israeli army.
    The reason we allocate our funds in that manner is simple – we both believe that a desperate person will engage in desperate means: suicide bombers are probably the most desperate on the planet. If we can do something to remind these children that they are precious beyond words, precious in actual, hard-earned dollars, precious in actual time spent and energy used – they may not hit the level of desperation needed to go and kill themselves and a bunch of other (probably innocent) people.
    I’m not eligible for your competition – I will not be making a specific donation due to this post. But, hey, I support MSF and your position on it! More power to you for putting this truly important cause on your widely-read blog!
    And congrats about this, too!
    I’m ordering a few today, for myself and to give to friends. I’ll write an MSF promo in each dedication.

  33. Thank you for putting life into perspective for us all. Especially after the holidays when everything seems to get compeltely out of whack. I have been thinking about a donation for the last few days and trying to figure out how and where. Thank you for reminding me to stop thinking and act!! I made my donation to MSF this afternoon.

  34. If they’re to be Mitaines Sans Frontiers shouldn’t they be more than just Latvian? This is your chance to combine Folk Knitting in Estonia with your Latvian mittens to get all the patterns you have been lusting over.
    Just my $0.02.

  35. OK, I’ve preordered 5! (Husband also excited…)
    I’ll be buying another seven or so over the year, hopefully when your eight-city tour hits the Pacific Northwest… …remember (and tell your publisher that) Seattle KNITS!

  36. My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I used to work in the merchant marines for Energy Transportation Corporation, carrying LNG from Indonesia to Japan, back and forth for months on end. As anyone who has had a period in their life when they meet someone and fall in love, those memories are crystal clear for me and I cherish every one. We both have been watching the news these past few days, learning that the town that we used to ride mopeds in, dodging the traffic, smelling the totally foreign scents (some beautiful, some not), seeing the wonderful kids chasing us and having total strangers wave as we drive by, no longer exists.
    One time, the company van that transports the merchant sailors, dropped us off for a few hours. After we ate, we wandered through the dirt streets, trying to communicate as best we could, sharing more smiles than words. My finance then decided he could navigate us back to the ship on foot and we didn’t need to catch the company van. Who wouldn’t think it was romantic to stroll hand in hand on the edge of this lush jungle? Well, after getting us lost…being a stereotypical male…he wasn’t too keen on asking directions. He kept walking and telling me “I can smell the ocean!” We ended up standing at the edge of town with a mosque on one side and a church on the other and I told him we were going to ask someone, whether we spoke the language or not. Being more familiar with the church, I walked into the building and interrupted choir practice and somehow communicated that we were stupid Americans and we had somehow misplaced our 1000 foot long ship. A man and a woman took us out to their mopeds, and drove us back to the ship without a second thought. To this day I remember that moped trip like yesterday. Our little adventure has given our family a couple of sayings. Whenever my husband is driving and I suspect that he is lost I ask him “Can you smell the ocean?” And whenever we run across a random act of kindness it is generally observed as being “Christians on motorcycles”.
    Sorry to ramble on. Statistics can be overwhelming and I just wanted to let you know how wonderful and beautiful the people of the island of Sumatra are.

  37. Great plan, Stephanie – I donated to the Red Cross right away, because I knew they’d already be nearby and they have experience with getting things back together and getting services like clean water reestablished quickly. I’ll chip in on this one too, at the end of the week, when I tally my score sheet. One other thing I did, which other knitters may find healing — I immediately cast on a pair of socks for CIC and a pair of mittens for Afghans for Afghans. The tsunami was so huge and so immediate that it’s impossible to imagine and it’s all we can think about; meanwhile, the world’s smaller, more gradual, tragedies continue, and I can do my little bit to keep someone warm in one of those places. I firmly believe that if all of us do something, no matter how seemingly small, for someone else, the world becomes a better place.

  38. Excellent point about donating monthly – I’ve been waiting to send in my donation until later because I know interest wanes but the need will remain for years, if not longer; any way to sustain the support is a good idea. Ben sounds like the Indiana Jones of human resources staff – good for him. And here I thought that was just a desk job. Happy New Year, Steph.

  39. There was a time in my life when I did not know where my next meal would come from, and that there was absolutely no way I could pay my housing expenses, and heaven help me if my daughter became ill and needed medical attention. Those times are past now, but they have been vividly brought to mind this past week.
    My plight, although it felt overwhelming at the time, was not nearly as traumatic as that experienced in southeast Asia.
    My hubby and I had already decided to make a sizable contribution to relief efforts. Your idea also makes sense. Our contribution will increase by the purchases which would have been made but won’t because they are not necessities.
    Thanks for the idea.

  40. This disaster has finally galvanised me into regular giving to MSF instead of odd bits here and there. And so good to see a face… Thanks!

  41. Thanks, Stephanie, for making this so easy to do, too. I read your entry and immediately donated to the MSF through the Canadian link – love the idea of the matching contribution. And besides, there’s just something about Canadians that is so … so trustworthy, you know?

  42. When’s the deadline for this Steph? As sadly, I am not in a place where I can donate money until the 15th of this month.

  43. I’ve never donated money before but you’ve inspired me. I always thought I “couldn’t afford it”. Thanks for the perspective.

  44. Since my employers & the gov’t match my donations does that mean I get 3 chances at the mittens?
    Just kidding.
    But MSF is one of the organizations where my company will match my donation.
    Thanks for doing this Steph.

  45. Great plan Steph! You have motivated many to contribute, even first timers, which is great! If a person gives up one coffee a day or bags their lunch twice per week, it may not seem like much, but it can be significant. Multiply that by 100 or 200 or 500 people and the money starts to add up! I have already given to the relief agency of my choice, so I am not in the running for the mittens. I do plan more contributions, but have worked before with Church World Service (who has a presence there) and our church has personally been helping a family work their way out of poverty in Thailand for a few years. Actually, if not for our involvement, they still would have been in their previous home, which was demolished by the tsunami. They certainly would have perished. It was an anxoius few days before we heard from them. I encourage everyone to do what they can, even $5 can purchase cases of much needed water. Great work Steph!

  46. What a great idea! here’s another for your readers to get their kids involved; in addition to money, relief agencies of all types are collecting personal hygiene items, clothing, etc, and sending them off to the tsunami victims. My daughter went back to school today planning to suggest to her teacher that their class organize a drive within the school to collect much-needed items for the effort. Included with the items they hope to send small stuffed animals to help comfort some of the smaller victims, who are even less able to understand why everything in their world is so different now.

  47. Rick and I just discussed the organizations taking donations for tsunami efforts and MSF came out on top. Thanks for the reminder and the shove to go and do it.

  48. Done and done.
    And don’t enter my name into the drawing. I’ve been trying to figure out where the money should go; you just made my life easier. As much as I’d absolutely love those most gorgeous mittens, I’m sure someone in a non-California area of the world would appreciate them more. 🙂

  49. I’m in. We had to curtail our giving more than we wanted this year, because DH was just laid off. Despite that, we have no major money worries, and I have my own little stash of cash for stash. Some of that will be on its way to MSF tomorrow. Thanks so much for organizing this fundraiser.

  50. I don’t need mittens (living in sunny southern California), but I’m happy to share my good fortune with those who actually *need* instead of *want*. I’ll be donating today. A local group is also putting together canned goods and hygiene items to ship to sri lanka, which I’m adding to as well. Anything to help.

  51. I’ve already donated, but I’ll see what I can scrounge up. Just a reminder to everyone to check if your company matches donations too. I work for Starbucks and they will match dollar for dollar (up to $1000) any charitable donation (tsunami or not).

  52. We have donated to the red cross already but plan to make monthly donations. Count me in. Are you looking into any organizations that would take donations of knit items?? ie, socks, blankets, etc??

  53. I had already picked MSF or Doctors Without Borders as the recipient of my charitable donation. Sent out last week, I donated $50. Being a New York City girl, I felt an overwhelming need to DO something and they’re name popped up on SEA-EAT blog at They’re on my list of regular donees from now on.

  54. This is a great thing to do! Just a warning to anyone with stock in Chipotle – my absence will be noticed and you might want to invest elsewhere while I’m redirecting my burrito dollars.
    I have a question for the general population… We often hear of reasons to not support certain companies, but I would love a list of the corporations who have been generous so that I can support them when I’m out spending my money. Anyone know if there’s a list anywhere? I thought it so sweet when, 10 minutes after Bush offered up the 15 million, Pfizer said, “we’ll meet that.” Never thought I’d get warm fuzzies from a pharmaceutical company, but you’ve gotta love their style.

  55. What a wonderful way to open people’s eyes up to this organization and how we can help those in need overseas. Count me in. I am cutting back on my wine consumption to lose weight……that extra money will now have a useful place to go. Thank-you for always challenging us

  56. I already donated, actually, on Boxing Day to the Canadian Red Cross. Being a student (though very gratefully not starving) I couldn’t give much, but I sent them $20, in lieu of yarn for – believe it or not – latvian mittens. I believe the government is matching them as well, but I’m not sure.

  57. Since somebody mentioned Pfizer, I thought I’d let everyone know that every year they match(dollar for dollar) an employees charitable donations up to $15,000 per employee. However MSF/DWB refused Pfizer’s money. The choiceis theirs to make, of course. My husband no longer works for Pfizer but he is still peeved. We gave to UNICEF.

  58. I used to support Pfizer and I like them as a company too.
    Anyway not much to give with a baby on the way but I did give what I could to MSF so I guess that means count me in for those mittens 🙂
    Thank you too everyone who is supporting charities on a regular basis. I work for a non profit childrens hospital and we appreciate everything we can get. Which btw most hospitals are always accepting blankets and other necessities.
    Thank you everyone and I hope you have a great new year.

  59. I’d already decided to make MSF my designated charity on this one – it is a remarkable organization. Someone asked about donating to the Canadian organization instead of the American branch – I think you have to go through your own country’s national office, but there is more information on the MSF website. Check it out.

  60. I hope your fundraiser goes better than mine. I posted an original pattern for little lacey wrist warmers, which were originally going to be in my BOOK if it hadn’t been so cruely rejected by the publisher. Sigh. (Picture me with back of hand on my forehead) The proceeds are going to Unicef. I’ve only sold five patterns. Five. I felt so awful I went and ordered one myself. I so suck… So I hope you hae better results than me, because there are a whole heck of a lot of people who need help right now.

  61. You helped me make up my mind about where to donate for this cause. Thanks! And, I am proud to say, (and no offense to the Harlot)…it had *nothing* to do with the prospect of winning mittens. That’d just be a maaaajor bonus.
    Great idea, Steph! And thank Ben for me, too!

  62. Last week I walked over to the MSF office in Toronto to donate, because it’s not far from where I live. Their front desk phones were ringing off the hook every ten seconds, so I could imagine that a lot of people weren’t getting through. Which was another reason for me to walk over. I think they are a great organization.

  63. A friend of mine has recently left or will soon leave for Doctors without Borders. He’s an ER doctor. I think that’s an amazing thing to do.
    What a good idea to collect donations for them. I will be donating!

  64. 1. You rock!
    2. I’m going to a benefit concert tomorrow. For 20$, I get to hear cool music and the money all goes to the red cross. Yay! I’m also in the MSF thing.
    3. Your brother-in-law looks so much like my best friend Pierre it’s almost scary.

  65. Ok you have inspired me. Please don’t kill me but I stole your words for a similar challenge on my blog (I gave you credit of course). I just want to help as much as I can and I think you had a great idea. <3

  66. My SO donated to them (“our” version, that is, Doctors without Borders) and I went with UNICEF soon after we got the news. Being graduate students, our budgets don’t allow for anywhere near what we’d like to give, so we thank you for encouraging others to make donations!

  67. what a great idea! I won’t partecipate because I donate to other organizations, but MSF is great and I hope your tally will be very very high.

  68. My $$ went to the Red Cross on New Year’s Eve. My friend hosting the New Year’s Eve party had a box with a red cross on it asking for donations. I gave her our cab fare home and took the TTC instead.

  69. Count me in! I will donate to “Aerzte ohne Grenzen” (the German branch) today.
    Greetings from Beate in Frankfurt/Germany.

  70. So glad to see you posting about the tsunami relief effort and the wonderful work that an organization like MSF is doing there. I had already made a donation to Oxfam Canada, my organization is matching donations dollar for dollar, if I can spare anything else, I’ll definitely look at MSF. That being said, I read on the Sydney Morning Herald web site ( that MSF is asking that people STOP donating to their organization, as they can’t do anything with the money. I’m not sure if that’t the case with MSF Canada, but something to look into.
    Happy New Year — I look forward to being inspired by your knitting and moved (to laughter or tears, as appropriate) by your writing.

  71. Sadly I can’t participate in the mitten contest, as Finland doesn’t have MSF… I have, however, already donated as much as I can to the Finnish Red Cross. It seems you have encouraged many to donate, both to MSF and other charities.
    It is good for you to remind us of how fortunate we are: even though I live on a quite small maternity allowance right now, I still have more money to spend than most people in the world. I will try to better my ways, and donate more later this year.

  72. Alison A’s comment is just slightly, but terribly, wrong and easy to check at the Doctors Without Borders site. What they’re saying is they have enough for their current tsunami relief efforts but want to use your contributions in accordance with your wishes and urge you to permit them to use your contribution for their ongoing efforts — NOT that they “can’t do anything with the money.” Suffering is suffering, whether it’s in the current spotlight or not, and MSF is to be commended for being clear; the Red Cross has taken some body blows in similar situations lately. Give — they need it and use it well.

  73. I already sent some money to so I won’t be jumping in the mitten pool but I wanted to say congratulations on a terrific idea for helping out.

  74. I would like to enter my mom’s name: naomi black. My parents give monthly to MSF and gave some extra this week to MSF earmarked for relief in southeast asia.

  75. Hi Steph.
    I’m glad that you sent out this challenge, because it has given me a direction for my money. no matter how much I whine about being a starving student, if I can get Tim Hortons twice a week, I can donate.

  76. I would just like to say how cool it is that since I was here last night, the donation total has doubled. SO COOL! 🙂

  77. Our family made a donation to MSF last week for disaster relief, and now we are taking up your challenge. Our ‘savings’ will be forwarded. Thanks for encouraging us all to appreciate our own privilege, and keep our eyes on the big picture. For my teenaged daughters, a reminder of what it really means to have ‘nothing to wear’, cuts close to home.

  78. Stephanie, let me add my voice as well thanking you for this challenge. I’ve given to Episcopal Relief and Development but want to take on the challenge for MSF as well experiencing of asking what is a need, what is a want this week (with the exception of an already-planned girls’ day out to a local yarn shop. . .) I hope the world’s attention to this crisis teaches us all to give more generously on a regular basis, me included.

  79. Sorry, Stephanie, cannot find your address (I’m still finding my way around computers), but have donated to MSF – great idea! Well done you for organising it, Jill in UK.

  80. I was just at the Doctors Without Borders (US) website to make my donation. They have some good information there:
    85.67% of your money goes to their efforts, not administrative or other expenses. A charity that uses 80% is considered very good!
    Check out the matching gifts info to see why they don’t accept money from companies like Pfizer. I applaud their integrity.
    They say they have already collected enough money to fund the currently expected tsunami relief efforts they will be providing. However, they are in more than 70 countries world wide and can use our help elsewhere.
    I gave a donation equal to my last yarn purchase.

  81. This is a great idea. It restores some of my hope in humanity to hear of so many giving so much. I was horrified on Friday (more than the general sense of horror about the disaster) when one of my coworkers ranted and raved about how stupid it was that our government (and that of the US) was helping the affected countries. In his words “Those people wouldn’t help us if we needed it”. I won’t even tell you what he said about population control. I’m still seething.
    I gave to Samaritan’s Purse b/c I have known people working for them and I saw first-hand some of their work when I was working in Pakistan. I hope that your fundraiser raises tons of funds and the mittens will be the least (although they will be wonderful) of the motivation.

  82. Well, unfortunately my wad is shot for this month’s budget for donations with my contributions to Heifer and Afghans for Afghans, but I’ll add it to the list for next month =) Thanks for the info, Harlot!

  83. Hi Stephanie: I’m in, but can’t seem to get an Email through to you– could you Email me? Thanks, Katherine.

  84. I already gave 2 good sweatersworth to the Canadian Red Cross, but in the spirit of amping-it-up I called their national office here in Ottawa and offered my public-service-contracted volunteer day to help in their offices. I have also invited others in my department to join me. Volunteer help can lower admin overhead a little, assuming I can be taught to stuff envelopes!

  85. Just donated to MSF. It’s my number one place to give. Every year my family draws names and we donate to something rather than exchange xmas presents, and every year MSF is IT for me.

  86. What a great idea. I just printed out the donation form!
    Although the mittens will be beautiful, I probably would not wear them so my name does not need to go into the drawing 🙂

  87. MSF’s website said they had enough donations to fund their reliefs efforts for the Tsunami victims, so I donated $100 to The Red Cross instead… 🙂

  88. Stephanie, I heard how someone got the idea that Doctors Without Borders didn’t want any more money: National Public Radio used a sentence like that as a “teaser” for a segment this afternoon. Unfortunately, they didn’t immediately clarify that funds could be put to good use in other areas… and in the :45 minutes I was in the car, they did not expand the full story! Someone’s stupid idea of a catchline is going to make a lot of people go home and say, “I don’t need to contribute, they have plenty.” Thank goodness YOU are going to make up for any resulting shortfall. GREAT JOB!

  89. You totally amazing smarty pants! After a phone call from your very loving husband I visited your site for the first time, and of course I�m impressed. While I�m not so good at knitting, I�m an expert at playing music for free, so The Liquidaires will be holding a benifit concert for Tsunami relief funds, and while we�re at it I don�t see why we shouldn�t donate through MSF. Not enough good things can be said about that organization. We�ll be letting you know the details of the event and the size of the resulting donation, and we�ll be linking your site to our emails to help spread the love. Thanks for the work you do just thinking about work you could do.

  90. Thank you for getting me in gear and making it easy to donate. My husband and I had been dragging our feet, wondering which group to give to…..MSF is a fabulous choice and I’m so glad you reminded me of them! Thank you for organizing this!

  91. I love the idea and I gave to UNICEF myself just yesterday. Please let everyone know that I saw an interview with Doctors without Borders on CNN. They are asking that anyone who wants to give specifically to Tsunami relief give to other organizations. They have already dispersed as many resources as possible to this emergency. It even says so on their website. They are accepting donations for other efforts around the world, but for this specific cause, they have all they need at the moment and would rather people donate to other organizations for Tsunami.

  92. Stephanie,
    What an eloquent appeal. I’m saving it to read again from time to time–and of course, you’ve given me a great idea of where to send money for this disaster and others not so well known. MSF is just a great organization.
    If anyone is interested in reading more about what goes on in some of the less publicized areas of the world *and* what’s being done, there’s a book I’m reading called Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. It’s about a similar organization started to reach the most destitute, Partners in Health, by Dr. Paul Farmer.

  93. What an excellent idea! Has anyone also considered auctioning off some of their lovingly knitted wares then contributing the proceeds?

  94. What a great idea! Count me in. I sent my monthly yarn budget as well to MSF/DWB. We truly are blessed to live how we live. Despite occasional hardships, we never want for necessities. Hope the amount donated continues to rise. Thanks for sharing the message of your brother-in-law. You are ever my inspirations for knitting too.

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