I spent the morning making quilted placemats. The why I will get to in a minute. I was a vendor this weekend at a Christmas craft show and as always I had time between waves of people to reflect, this time on how fortunate and privileged we are here in Canada. Even with the terrible floods and slides in BC and the ravage of COVID across the country, we have a government, health care system, disaster relief folks and even the military to come to our aid and lessen the impact of these terrible events. That cannot be said for many across the globe.
As a child I wanted to save the world, particularly kittens and puppies and was heartbroken when my mother forced me to return a cute ginger kitten. As a young adult I wanted to relieve the suffering of children seen in the commercial from CARE, Plan, and other such organizations and was part of my motivation for becoming a nurse. As I matured, at least in some ways, I came to realize that I couldn’t save everyone, not even the puppies and kittens BUT what I did come to understand is that I CAN make a difference to 1 puppy, 1 kitten, 1 child or 1 family. And so that is why I make a modest monthly contribution to the Humane Society, why I have sponsored a child through PLAN for over 40 years, why my kids receive cards in their Christmas stockings thanking them for the chickens, goats, and safe water supply they have contributed to in Africa or the soccer balls and school supplies provide to children there and that is why I have volunteered and continue to volunteer in various ways within my community.
Now we are getting to the placemats. I recently started volunteering for an organization called Helping with Furniture that provides gently used furniture and household items to people in need.https://www.hwfottawa.org/. The organization originally started in response to a need in the refugee and new immigrant community, however, the clients that are being referred today encompass the original clients as well as women and children fleeing violence, people who have lost everything in a fire, homeless individuals moving into a home for the first time in a long time to mention just a few. While we do ask for gently used goods sometimes what we get is often past its prime, but it is better than nothing. We give people linens, bed linens, blankets, pillows etc., as well as linen for the kitchen and dining. Often the placemats are stained and worn. I thought that it would be nice for these people to have something, however small, that was new, just for them. Hence the placemats I am making with material from my “stash”.
What I contribute to my community is not huge, I don’t spend every waking hour volunteering and I am not going poor donating money. But I truly believe that I am making a difference in someone’s life 1 child, 1 person at a time. I also believe that if we all contributed 1 hour, 1 day, 1 dollar, $100 or a combination of any of these, the impact would be so much more than the sum of its parts. And so I wish you a great holiday season connecting and reconnecting with family and friends. We all have had an incredible 2 years and need some hope and love in our lives. By opening up, inviting people and contributing in some small way we make the world just a bit better place to be.