As I sat watching the news about Hurricane Harvey (among other things) and the devastation it was leaving in its wake, I was lost in a profound feeling of helplessness.
Here I was sitting comfortably in my home in a state far away from the storm. My loved ones were safe and accounted for – every one of them. My household was intact aside from the usual messes. My most prized possessions, of which they are few but still very special to me, were exactly where I left them.
In Houston, however, the pictures told a completely different story. And I could not get them out of my head. There were rescue workers holding children while they waded in knee-deep water to safety. Mothers and fathers carrying their children, in addition to any possessions they could hold, as they walked away from their homes without turning back as things washed away.
And while donating money is always helpful, those affected need things now not later. Even though many, many millions of dollars have been donated to the Red Cross as well as other important organizations, most people won’t see any money for a while.
So in that moment of feeling totally helpless, I decided I had to help more than just donating cash and started going through the finished products I still have in inventory that could help people in Houston.
Makers Always Have Something To Give
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big box store or even a small boutique, for that matter, with palettes or boxes in a stockroom that need a home. I do, however, still have a variety of useful items that could make a difference.
Not only are these brand new items, but they are things like printed women’s t-shirts, children’s bodysuits, flannel pillowcases, and terry cloth towels that someone could use right away. And I feel hopeful that things that might provide even the slightest bit of normalcy in what must be a surreal and constantly overwhelming situation.
Where Should I Donate Handmade Goods?
After Hurricane Harvey hit, I saw this NPR article on Twitter that has a list of organizations you can review. I did some additional research as well and found the Houston Emergency Operations Center website. Last week, when I originally found the site, there were only two drop-off locations listed and the Bethel Heavenly Hands Church was one of the them (the page has since been updated to include several more organizations).
Before mailing to donations to any organization, I always like to verify not only that they are accepting what I plan to send but also, especially in this case, that anyone in need can benefit from my donations.
So I called and left a voicemail for Pastor August. Not only did he call back within 15 minutes of my leaving the voicemail, but he also let me know that everyone is welcome and that they appreciate all the appropriate donations people are able to send.
Make Handmade Donations, Change A Life
So over the next week I am going to chronicle on the Goods Giving Back Instagram feed the new, unused former products that will be sent to Houston. I am hopeful that this will inspire other handmade makers as well as small business owners to do the same.
If you’re stumped on how to proceed, this is what I suggest: look through your inventory or handmade stash and find that box (or two or three!) of perfectly wonderful products from past seasons or product lines or crafty projects that no longer serve a purpose for your business. Catalog the handmade donations for your personal or business records then select one of the wonderful organizations from this Hurricane Houston donations list.
These handmade items that are merely taking up space in your storage can be used right now by people in need. It is the smallest of heartfelt gestures that can change a life.
So please join me and, while you’re at it tag @goodsgivingback, so that I can repost and continue to spread the word. Let’s show Houston that the handmade community supports them in these difficult times.