While doing some research for work, I stumbled across Hop Skip Jump (one of my favorite sites that sells patterns for stuffed animals). In one of their blog posts, HSJ talked about how they donated a doll to a campaign called Softies for Mirabel. I’ve never heard of this campaign before but after reading about its cause, I suddenly wanted to be a part of it. Right now!
What is Softies for Mirabel? It’s an annual handmade toy drive for children who are part of the Mirabel Foundation – the only organization in Australia that specifically addresses the needs of children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental drug use. “Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future in order for them to reach their full potential as young adults.”
2010 marked the 4th year for this toy drive and I think it’s an AMAZING effort. It’s open to anyone…all crafty participants on this planet! If you knit, crochet or sew you can donate any amount of softies (plush toys) for a child in need. The softie will be matched to the age, likes and needs of a Mirabel child. The deadline for this year has already passed (which I’m really bummed about) but I look forward to next year! For about a week, the softies are displayed in a store window at a shop called Meet Me at Mike’s. It breaks my heart looking at these dolls, knowing that there are 1,399 children and counting who could really use them. Some of these dolls are quite beautiful…you can tell a lot of work and love have gone into them.
For a short period of time, Ben and I volunteered for an organization here in Logan called Happy Factory Toys (putting together wooden cars for children in third world countries) and I think one of the most common questions Happy Factory Toys got was “Why toys? Why not just donate canned food or other more important contributions?” That’s a good point, but I think people forget the important developmental role toys play in a child’s life. Each child interacts with toys differently. They’re essentially basic instruments (or outlets) for creativity and free thinking. Even until today, I can’t seem to pry myself away from dolls. Since I’m at that age where it’s socially unacceptable to play with them (darn it!) I’ve devoted my time to making them instead :)