Quilting Interest

New Giving Program at Color Girl Quilts

To say the least, it’s been quite a year. I dare say there isn’t a person on earth not impacted by some aspect of the events of this year: wildfires in Australia and California, the pandemic, racial discord in the United States and the ongoing division and political debate over how to best address these issues and now we are facing an election. There have been natural disasters and human tragedies. I’m sure there is more that I’m not aware of around the world. I wanted to put down some thoughts here and how I would like to get involved in making the world even a tiny bit better. I hope you’ll be patient and read through…this is not a political statement, but my thoughts and how I arrived at the decision to start the giving back program here.

One of the things that has made the pandemic and quarantine even harder for some is food insecurity. I’ve seen statistics that 40 million Americans lost jobs toward the beginning. Some have come back, but food pantries have seen a huge rise in requests for help. I’m glad these services are there for those in need.  It’s so heartbreaking to me: the idea that people in a country with the wealth that we have are still hungry is unacceptable.

The killing of George Floyd in June sparked a new round of discussions on race relations in our country. Unfortunately, some have turned to violence, and the suffering is increasing rather than decreasing. It feels like we are in a cycle now of protest and retaliation, a lot of pointing fingers, a lot of politicians trying to get the high ground, just a lot. I’ve often felt that it’s hard to know what to believe and who to listen to. It’s easy to blame and question motives based on your own life experiences or the political silo that you are stuck inside.

A quote that stuck with me (I don’t remember where/who it came from) from these times is this: “Your world is not THE world”.

I love this because it is a reminder to BELIEVE the voices of those who are speaking up. You or I may not have ever experienced food insecurity, homelessness or discrimination so it can be easy to dismiss the hardship of others. It’s easy to forget the small advantages we have had that helped us get where we are or have it a little bit easier. It’s easy to take for granted the opportunities we enjoy simply by being born in a certain zip code, with a certain skin color, or to our particular parents.

“Your world is not THE world”

I hope that little reminder helps all of us to open our hearts to each other. To consider that it doesn’t matter WHY someone else is struggling, just that they need our help and if we are able, we should reach out.

I’ll finish with an experience I’ll never forget. It wasn’t life changing or huge, but it had a big affect on me.

My younger brother died suddenly and very unexpectedly in February of this year. My family is uniquely close…while we don’t all live close together, we communicate often, visit as much as we can, and really enjoy a special bond. My mom and siblings and I were/are devastated by his loss. One of the first days after I returned home from his funeral, I was at my gym doing my usual morning time on the elliptical trainer. Deep grief had me feeling like I was stuck in quicksand. I felt weak, sad, and generally not myself, but I did my workout. It was kind of the last place I wanted to be.

In the locker room as I was getting my coat and changing my shoes, a young woman (she happened to be a person of color) gave me a huge smile and said, essentially, “man, you are GOALS on the elliptical! I hope I can do it like that some day!”. Her bright demeanor, smile, and kind words were exactly the boost I needed in that moment. Obviously, it didn’t bring me to the surface of the deep abyss I was in, but that short, kind interaction brought me out of myself for a moment. She had no way of knowing what I was feeling or the grief I was experiencing, but she took a chance on saying something kind to a stranger and made a difference.

I hope that our first instinct is kindness and generosity.

Since we started wearing masks, the thing I notice the most that I miss is smiling at people. What a loss that is when we all need smiles more than ever.

Over the summer I gave a lot of thought to how I want to try and make a small difference. I’d love to be more involved in my community and do something big, but I have a lot more heart than I have time. So, to start, I want to use my platform at Color Girl to at least give to help those in need. It’s a small step, but hopefully one that will help someone.

Since hunger is a cause that’s meaningful to me and affects people of all kinds, this month, 5% of all sales from the shop here will be donated to the organization No Kid Hungry. You can read more about them and give directly, here, if you like.

I hope you’ll take these words in the spirit they are intended. I think we can all make the world a little bit brighter. We can’t see each others’ smiles right now, so let’s show our love and generosity of spirit in other ways.

If you are aware of an organization that is working to improve our world, please do share. We might make them the next recipient of Colorful Quilters Giving Back.

Happy Sewing!

Color Girl Quilts Sharon McConnell

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “New Giving Program at Color Girl Quilts

  1. Diana says:

    Thanks Sharon for your deep felt words. I hope that beautiful memories of your brother give you comfort when the grief rises to the surface as it will over time.
    My family is one of the lucky ones. We are able to work from home primarily and have found that the budget spent on transportation to and from work (40 minute commute one way) was an unexpected savings. We are giving to the food bank every month the money that would have been spent on gas and car maintenance. The local food bank is swamped and I am afraid that this is only going to get worse this winter as evictions increase.
    Small acts of kindness and goodness go a long way.
    Sending hugs. Be well. Diana

    1. Sharon says:

      Thank you, Diana! I love this idea of donating the money saved from commuting. You are brilliant and so generous, thank you! I love hearing about how you spread kindness.

  2. Audrey B Seybold says:

    Nice Sharon! I lost my Dad in April so my heart feels the ache you’re feeling over the loss of your brother. I’m turning my sadness into supporting some organizations that aren’t necessarily getting the big donations going to other very worthwhile causes. Like you I feel the pull to try to make some positive contribution no matter how tiny it is.

    1. Sharon says:

      Thank you, Audrey, I am so sad to hear about your dad. Grief is so difficult and complicated. Thank you so much for your contributions! it gives me hope to hear about people being generous to others right now.

  3. dustyhuxford says:

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your brother. Losing a loved one is always hard. Just know that the memories in your heart and mind keeps him with you always. I appreciate your words and dedication to helping others. We donate on a regular basis to the food bank, and they need us more than ever right now. It breaks my heart to see families living in tents or vehicles every time I see them in our town. And rents are out of control for those who cannot afford a place to live, or have lost their jobs. So thank you for your kind words.

    1. Sharon says:

      Thank you! I am so happy to hear the food bank is on your giving list. I really believe that we can go a long way toward solving a lot of social problems by caring for our most in need. It’s hard to get very far if you don’t have enough to eat and other basic necessities.

  4. Susan S says:

    I am sorry for your loss. It must be even more difficult to have family spread out during corona days. Judging by the other comments you have chosen a good cause and I will willingly support you.

  5. Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and inspiration.

  6. This was such a thoughtful, and well written blog…thank you for digging deep into your soul and sharing it! I miss the smiles and random interactions with strangers, too!
    You are so on target about food insecurity, and I applaud your efforts. It is so true that “We have a lot more heart than we have time”. But look how you are influencing others with the blog!

  7. Aileen says:

    What wonderful caring words. You have made me feel so much more hopeful. I’m sorry for you brother’s death, more than I can say. That is such a hard blow, that I also experienced some years ago. I am so glad a wonderful stranger was there to offer some love and warmth when you needed it most. It is so generous of you to contribute to a charity. I’m off to rifle through your shop. Look after yourself. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

  8. Aileen says:

    I’m sorry I made a long comment that has disappeared. The gist of it was thank you for your caring words. Im sorry for your terrible loss. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

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