Hi friends! Recently, I’ve been inspired by a fellow maker to participate in her absolutely fantastic and loving project. Her name is Justine a.k.a. @chubbyknots_crochet. She’s a fabulous maker based in Australia and earlier this year she spent some time at a refugee camp in Lebanon where she spent a significant time with some Syrian refugee children. Prior to her time there, she was able to put a call out to her fellow makers on Instagram to make and donate toys for these children she was set out to meet. On that visit, she was able to collect over 100 toys to donate to these sweet children. Now, Justine is putting out a call once more to her amazing maker community to donate 500 toys to these beautiful children as she’ll be going back in December.
I watched Justine’s mission unfold the first time around and was a little bit too late to participate in the first round of toy donations. So when she and Madison (@knittedbymadison) announced that they wanted to collect even more toys for a second go around and that it would be a full blown campaign, needless to say, I was game.
Along with the hashtag #ToysForSyrianRefugeeChildren, Justine started a second hashtag #5ReasonsFor500 for her fellow makers to introduce themselves to one another and share their reasons for joining in on this beautiful movement.
Without further ado… Here are my 5 Reasons for 500.
1. I want to do my part.
I grew up going to Catholic school and volunteering and doing your part in your community was always a constant. I’ve always appreciated this value that was instilled in me at such a young age. Now that I’m older and am no longer a participant in the Catholic community, a sense of doing my part in a community has, sadly, fallen to the waist side . I know that I don’t need to make big strides to make a difference in whatever community I am a part of. If I’m able to make one or two toys that will find their way thousands of miles into the arms of innocent children, I know that I helped in some way or another.
2. To be a living symbol of hope.
This may echo the first reason, but I feel like this small act of making toys that will be given to children is a small symbol or act of hope. Given the political climate of our world in this day and age, hope is such a powerful thing. When we lose hope, it’s hard to come back. I see these toys as a small gesture of hope. Hope that there’s still goodness in the world and that things can turn around for anyone and everyone. If the toys that we donate can bring a smile to a child’s face, there is hope.
3. The maker community.
Again, a little echo of reason number one, but this is a great opportunity to feel a little closer to this fabulous community I’m humbled to be part of. I’ve crocheted on and off for the past 5 years, but it wasn’t until this past year that I decided to really make it a consistent thing and turn it into something more for myself. (What that “more” is, who can tell?) But by sharing my love for this craft with others, it’s opened up a whole new world and community I never realized was out there. And along the way, I’ve come to realize that there are so many beautifully talented makers out there with such good and great big hearts. My fellow makers inspire me to do what I do, not just in this project but in my maker journey too.
4. I love toys.
My last two reasons are going to be a little less “cheesy” and heart-felt, because (if you know me well) I like to keep things in balance between serious and light-hearted. Much like any other child out there, I LOVED toys and plushies. My parents could leave me in a toy store and I’d be in heaven. I remember littering my bed and bedroom floor with toys galore. I was blessed to have experienced a childhood where toys brought me great joy. I want to pay it forward for these children.
5. I want to expand my skills.
Confession time: I’ve never ventured into toy making as a crocheter and these toys are my very first attempts at making toys. I’ve always been in awe of toy makers and amigurumi-ists (Is that even a term? If not, I’m making it one.). I never thought I’d ever get to a point where I’d be able to make toys and amigurumi. I resigned myself to just being able to make scarves and beanies and wearables. When Justine started this project, I saw it as a sign to venture out of my comfort zone and try something that I’ve always wanted to try but was too scared to. So, thank you Justine for giving me an opportunity to expand my skills as a crocheter and allow me to participate in something good in this world.
So there you have it. My #5ReasonsFor500. Are you a crocheter? Do you want to spread some love and joy to children who need a little love and joy in their lives? Check out Justine’s Instagram, Facebook page and informational PDF to find out how you can join this #ToysForSyrianRefugeeChildren movement.