Posts Tagged ‘oil spill’

Call to Crafters: Knit Sweaters for Penguins

flippenUPDATE: Yep, folks, the comment in the discussion section is correct. The need for penguin sweaters was met. You may put down your needles…or, a quick Google search for “Knit for charity” yields tons of resources, from making blankets for newborns with HIV/AIDS to helping the homeless and comforting wounded veterans. If you’re a knitter and have already sweatered and scarved your family and friends, don’t give up the hobby…extend your reach. Here is a link to just one of many lists of organizations and initiatives looking for volunteer knitters: http://www.knitnstyle.com/knitforcharity/

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OK, it seems like a cute overload meme to brighten your first day back at work…or an Etsy promo…but this adorable call for volunteers is no joke. While the crisis has passed, awareness and action (as well as vigilance) are still, and always, required.

Skeinz yarn shop in New Zealand is hoping knitters from far and wide will keep clicking those needles to make tiny sweaters for penguins who were endangered by a devastating oil spill. Not so much to keep the little birds warm, but to help keep them from poisoning themselves when they preen and groom naturally, until they can be cleaned and rid of the oil sticking to their feathers. It’s like penguins-sweatersyour dog’s veterinary “cone of shame” (Elizabethan collar) to keep it from licking injuries–but a heck of a lot more fun. There are very specific directions for knitting the sweaters: size, number of rows and stitches, finishing off the collar, etc. on their website.  If there is an overflow of goodwill knit goods, they will be used as a fundraising tool (with stuffed animal mascot penguins) to support the Penguin Rescue Fund.

St. Bernard Project Gulf Help

I just hung up the phone with my friend Simone, who is busting her hump helping charitable organizations devoted to several causes, and one of those nearest and dearest to her is in New Orleans. The St. Bernard Project works predominantly in St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Orleans parishes, and has been responsible for building more homes for Katrina survivors than any other local, national, or international organization. In addition to being devoted to meeting the demand of those still trying to reclaim their lives from a disaster that happened years ago, the ST Bernard Project also focuses on a very important but little talked of side of the community work in regards to the Gulf Oil Spill.

The mental health of residents of the Gulf region is being attentively addressed by St. Bernard Project. They have a mental health center to address all sorts of issues. More than a quarter of residents of New Orleans and the region are estimated to have suffered/still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Hurricane Katrina, and the uncertainty about the magnitude of the oils spill disaster, combined with loss of livelihood and work, is expected to cause similar PTSD issues. Michelle Many, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Professor in LSU’s Department of Psychiatry, says that, “The recent oil spill has already brought a blow to the prolonged recovery from Katrina, and LSU clinicians report that residents are suffering from re-traumatization.” Shrimpers and fishermen who are predominantly self-employed and without medical insurance, cannot seek service from most mental health providers in the community–except St Bernard Project.

We know about going down to New Orleans (a thing I feel lucky and blessed to do whenever I can) and the larger Gulf region to help with beach cleanup and rehab, help clean oil from sea birds like in the dish detergent commercials, and also just go there on vacation and spend our tourist dollars in a region that is suffering from the absence of visitors…but the gentle care of the emotional health of the amazing people who have been twice-struck by enormous tragedy is truly worth your support.

Donate to support St Bernard Project here, or click here to find out more about volunteering when you are visiting. Just a day of your time can have a powerful impact.