Sunday, 7 June 2015

Many a mickle ....

OK, I'm really bad at this blog thing - I started it with good intentions and then joined Facebook! However, this post is going to be easier as a blog post because I want to include several links and photographs in it.

I am currently collecting children's winter clothing for Operation Orphan, they are going to distribute it in Moldova, Ukraine and Nepal. I am going on the Moldova trip in October as a volunteer to help with fitting children to clothing that will see them through the really low temperatures they endure in the winter.

I have been called 'amazing' and 'inspirational' for this. I am not. I am someone who had an idea that Shetland could get involved in this project and started the ball rolling. What is AMAZING is:

  • Just over half way into the appeal, I have 27 boxes sorted and filled in my garage.
  • The 93 year old lady who knitted socks for the children.
  • The lady who went to the charity shops to buy donations as she didn't have any children's items to donate - 2 charities benefiting.
  • The huge number of people who have raked through their cupboards and donated lovely warm clothing for children they don't know and will never meet.
  • The generous people who are giving up space as collection points around Shetland.
  • The people who have rallied their communities from Unst to Fair Isle to help.
  • The donations of boxes.
  • The friends who have come to help pack (and my mum :) )
  • The box of nearly 200 (TWO HUNDRED!!) blanket squares knitted and donated to be made into blankets.
  • Each and every donation, no matter how big or small.
  • JBT - for storage and transportation.
  • The people who don't know me from Adam (well maybe Eve) who have contacted me to offer to help in lots of different ways.
  • Shetland Islanders! 

I have had several people say to me, "I'm sorry I could only manage ........" To them I would like to say, "The child who wears that one hat/ jumper/ scarf you knitted will appreciate the warmth, his or her mother will appreciate the time you took. They will not criticise you for only doing one, they will be grateful for it!" Each of us, in our own small way can do so much to help.

Several years ago I had severe anxiety and was off work for a time. I don't do sitting around and found it hard to do nothing. I found Loving Hands , a group of crafters who make for others around the world. The forum is where I found friends and the charities were an outlet for my creative side when I could crochet - or even knit. There are many on there who have found that making for others helps us as much as the recipients of our work, my own mother now numbers among them too. I learnt during that time not to sweat the little stuff - worrying doesn't change anything, but I can. One day at a time.

Every little we can do to help another person is enough for that person. If you can make one, two or ten blanket squares - joined with others they will make a blanket. If you can make a hat and someone else can make a scarf and another makes or donates some gloves, a child is warm for the winter. It is what we do together that makes the biggest difference. If you can't craft but would liek to help, here are some links that will take you to some charities doing amazing work that will appreciate every penny you can send:

Operation Orphan EVERY penny you send them gets spent on the children as their running costs are underwritten and do not come out of donations. They work in the UK, Africa, Eastern Europe and with Syrian refugees in Jordan and have now added Nepal to their list.

LILY - Love in the Language of Yarn An ex-pat Brit living in Turkey, Dianne is wonder woman made real! She works tirelessly for the Syrian refugees living in Turkish refugee camps and for the Syrians in dire situations in their own country. What started as an appeal for blanket squares has spread - she now supplies food, education supplies, nappies and baby milk, flour for a bakery in Syria, water purifying equipment for Syrian villages who are facing a summer of contaminated water, oh - and blankets - lots and lots of blankets!

Pennies can make a difference, I work at a small school - Ollaberry Primary - and last week we had a change appeal. Lots of coins - about 2/3 of a washing up bowl. Pennies, twos, fives, tens, twenties, fifties, pounds and two pound coins - decreasing in number as they increased in value. We made a picture from them for Operation Orphan's Nepal Appeal:

There were a LOT of pennies - I counted them all into £1 bags. The total raised was £401.59, those pennies working together are going to make a big difference.

I've rambled here a lot but I wanted to make the point that no-one should see people in need and say "I can't help!" or "I can only do a little so what's the point?" Every one of us can make a difference whether it's making something, donating money or a kind word to someone in distress. It is never too little!

Many a mickle maks a very big muckle!


  1. Hear, hear! Nice to see you blogging again. I occasionally look at Loving Hands, but mainly read blogs instead. It's good to know that Operation Orphan use all donations properly. I send them a box of items once or twice a year.

    1. I have 'one or two' boxes ready for them at the moment Una - as you can see from the photo above! Thanks for commenting, nice to see there's someone out there reading!

  2. What a lovely post Julia so well said you are all doing brilliantly, several readers of my blog have sent blankets to OO after my post 'making a difference' as you say every little helps and people really do want to help. :) xx

    1. If we can encourage others to help a little too - then it all adds up!

  3. Wow! What a fabulous collection, but I'd hate to be footing the postage bill, LOL. Seriously though, isn't it amazing how generous people are in times of crisis? Restores your faith in human beings ...

    1. I'd hate to be footing the bill too! I'm up to 38 boxes as of tonight- a local transport operator has said he will give me a good deal - if there is any charge - I'm hoping and keeping my fingers crossed! I have £250 from the local rotary club in hand - but this will cost more than that if I have to pay anything like the going rate!

  4. Julia, you are one amazing person. So much fruit from the seed you have sown. Well done.. love your blog.

    1. One tired person tonight - just spent the evening with my daughter, mother and daughter bonding over packing boxes! Up to 38 full ones now!