Last December 2019, as I started to decided what my 2020 Year of Marilyn Bucket List Challenge would look like, I felt I wanted one part to embrace giving back. I have so much. I was already doing fundraisers with my books and making the occasional donation, so wanted a totally new direction. For this project I wanted something that took time, focus and effort. It took me until spring to decide exactly what this would look like.
The COVID pandemic became a reality mid-March. How do I know this? We were flying home from visiting our daughter and the plane was filled with university students whose schools had just shut down. Staying at home 100% of the time wasn't easy for me. I had just started to dabble in knitting and crocheting before this started, so decided to get more serious. My daughter suggested listening to podcasts while working and that proved a game changer.
I made over 15 stuffed octopi for young kids and new babies. I made circular neck scarves and lap blankets for friends and family. I crocheted two home decor yarn totes to hold my projects and supplies. Somewhere in there, a yarn called Wool-ease - a Wool/Acrylic blend - went on sale. The picture of the simple toque on the skein's cover wrap looked intriguing, and looking at the instructions inside, I realized it was super easy to make. I made a few for family and then the idea popped into my head. THIS could be my act of charity.
As I neared end of the knitting process, I posted on Facebook asking my community how they thought I should distribute these toques. My friend Kate had a wonderful suggestion. Sell half, and for everyone sold, give one away. Bingo. It was also suggested by others to work through an organization to distribute those I wanted to donate.
As of two weeks ago, I had raised $500 through the generous purchases of others - 25 hats sold and delivered. Every cent of this was donated to support three families in need this holiday season - one family in North Vancouver and two in Richmond where I live. When I read about the families who would be the recipients of everyone's cash donations, I was content. This felt right. I love it personal. I love knowing who benefits.
I hope to get some sort of picture dropping them off, but that's as far as it goes. Those in need deserve their privacy. This challenge was not about recognition, it was about putting real time and effort into giving back.
While knitting toques was the perfect project for a year of shutdown and isolation, I won't be doing it again - well at least not next year. Who knows what giving back challenge I can come with for 2021. Yes, I am determined to create a 2021 Year of Marilyn Challenge Bucket List.