Don't get me wrong. Big charities are the ones with the clout, the ones that can make changes, lobby governments, make a significant difference. But I live in the centre of a small city and I am accosted daily by toothily attractive young people out collecting direct debit details (no, they don't shake a can under your nose any more, they want a permanent recurring donation direct from your bank account), handing out shiny literature and unwanted compliments. So while I could never say a bad word about UNICEF or the Red Cross, I sometimes also like to make a donation to a charity with the feeling that I am directly contributing to something, that my money or my effort goes directly to someone in need, and does not get used in part to pay an hourly wage to collectors, printing costs, advertising, directors' salaries ... or anything else the big charities need to continue to function and make their difference.
One of my friends runs a Christmas bazaar to collect money for our local children's clinic. Helped by an army of elderly ladies, they spend the year knitting and crocheting and jam-making for their stall during the holiday season. The money they make is used to buy equipment for the local clinic or to fly children in from crisis areas for needed operations. The medical staff at the clinic will operate for free if the ladies can fly the patients and their parents to Germany. So this is what they do: a handful of pensioners spend the Advent Saturdays in the freezing cold, selling chutneys and scarves and candles, and euro by euro they make enough money to make a small difference in a global sense, but a huge difference to a small group of individuals. That's good, too.
Last year I made a stack of owl key rings and they sold out within an hour. This year, I've started again. I plan to make thirty of them - and more if my fingers don't fall off. And I'm finally going to post the pattern for you! (just give me a day or two...) While some people feel a bit odd about the results of their patterns being sold (which, by the way, is apparently not illegal under US copyright law, so there you go - you learn something new every day), I have no problem with you using this pattern to make gifts for the holiday season, to give to or sell for charity - and if you make a few bob for yourself as a result of making them ... well, good for you. Be warned, though, the little blighters have a mind of their own. When I set up this photo, they were all facing upwards, I swear. But the one in the bottom lefthand corner is trying to escape and the pink one in the second row is pulling his neighbour's feathers. Spooky!
|Caught in the act. Can't leave them alone for a second.|