Maybe it was “The Picture” that that pushed me to action. The little girl in red, crying as her immigrant mother is searched and arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. That photo (by John Moore/Getty Images) of the terrified 2-year old and her mother hit me hard, as though the center thread holding together my sense of America’s goodness had exploded, that everything I believed and knew had ended.
The Washington Post reported that John Moore, the photographer, asked the mother a few questions. “She said they’d been on the road for a month, and they were from Honduras. I can only imagine what dangers she’d passed through, alone with the girl.
Moore had been to Honduras; it is a place so dominated by gang violence and poverty that National Geographic once wrote the country’s people have lost “their right to grow old.”
Americans had been seeing reports on TV and in the papers for more than a week about immigrants being detained, about sweeps of meat-packing plants or in strawberry fields, of mass arrests. Then there was a report that children–even babies–were being taken from the parents and sent somewhere. I remember thinking that “surely this can’t be true. Not in America!” And then the images started to appear, the little bodies of children covered in mylar space blankets, asleep on thin mats on concrete floors in cages.
I needed to DO SOMETHING. But I knew it would be pointless to try to contact Homeland Security, or Immigration, or the prisons where the children were being held–those organizations are all in the thrall of the Svengali of Amorality, “just following orders.”
I had to DO SOMETHING. I learned that the immigrants–even the children–are stripped of meager belongings they have carried the thousands of miles of their journey. Everything goes: toothbrushes, binkies, shoelaces, books, photos of their families. They are separated as in a concentration camp: men to one place, women to another. Children sent wherever. Children too young to know their last names. Babies when don’t have any way of saying to whom they belong.
“Sometimes there is so much sadness to take in that it simply gets overwhelming…
On those days when I turn off the television or radio because there seem to be too may problems and horrors to process, knowing that there is something I can do, however small, to make someone’s life easier alleviates some of those feelings of helplessness.”
I had to DO SOMETHING. Yes, I donate money. And money remains the biggest need for the many small organizations trying to help immigrants, to get legal representation for the children, to keep them and care for them as they file their asylum requests and await their days in court.
I also keep up the calls to Representatives and Senators, and I write letters to the same folks and to the soulless GOP ‘leaders’ who go along what that blithering idiot so they can stay in power and feel finally free to rip this country to shreds.
“Reaching out to others, with stitches and word, is my attempt to spread
compassion and joy and to help make the world a better place
one person–and one stitch–at a time.”
I HAD TO DO MORE. Something with my hands… Something others might join with me to do. And here is what I want to do: Make Handmade Toys and Blankets for Immigrant Kids and Moms. I found and contacted the Catholic Charities of San Antonio, TX and proposed sending them “comfort items” that I’d make, mainly knit things. Things that could belong to a child, that could be theirs. Teddy bears. Sock monkeys. Cozy little blankets. Washcloths with soap. Little pouches for keeping totem items… Catholic Charities said, “Yes.”
So, I’M DOING SOMETHING. And this is what my “something” is: hand-sewing and knitting toys, washcloths, and blankets for children, and shawls for moms.
If you feel as upset about what it going on in this country, I hope you too, will consider joining me in making comfort items for the children, the immigrants. Below, are some patterns for making the items I mentioned. They are all available for free on Ravelry or on Snapguide
You don’t have to make the specific things I found patterns for–you may have your own favorite child’s blanket pattern or a sewn rather than knitted sock monkey pattern. Let your heart guide your work.
When you’re done making your beautiful items, please think about attaching small notes to each item telling the future recipient something about you, why you made this, and sending strength and good wishes to them. It always makes an impact when a gift contains personal messages from the creator/giver.
Please take a photo of your creations and post them on this blog. And then pack them up and send them to:
Ms. Paula Walker
Catholic Charities of San Antonio
202 W. French Place
San Antionio, TX 78212
Otso bear knitting pattern: http://www.loopknitlounge.com/2016/12/otso-free-loop-bear-pattern/ [Free on Ravelry] [London Loop Knit Lounge; Sophie Scott]
Basket Weave Baby Blanket by Meg, or Garter Block Baby Blanket: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-block-baby-blanket [Free on Ravelry] [by Little Bit of Life; Meg Hollar]
Cottony Striped Baby Cocoon: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cottony-striped-baby-cocoon [Free on Ravelry] [by Linda Hogan]
Very Simple Garter Stitch Shawl (for Mom): https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/very-simple-garter-stitch-shawl [Free on Ravelry] [by The River Knitter]
Diagonal Knit washcloth: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/diagonal-knit-dishcloth-2 [Free on Ravelry] [by Jana Trent] [Use washcloth to wrap a bar of soap and tie with a ribbon]
Knit Sock Monkey: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sock-monkey-9 [FREE on Ravelry] [by Sherri Bush]
Traditional hand-sewn sock monkey: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Sock-Monkey
No-sew fleece blankets: https://www.projectlinus.org/patterns/pdf/NoSewFB.pdf [Free instructions on the Web]
“May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed
May the powerless find power
And may all people think of benefitting each other.”
— Shantideva’s Dedication of Merit