Friday, March 18, 2011

Doing what we can and what is needed

Seeing all these photos of sweaters being sent to the AFSC basement for the current campaign has been very inspiring to me. Next week I should be able to add two photos here, as I have two pullovers almost done. At least something good is coming out of my compulsive knitting-while- TV News-watching, especially over the last, upsetting few days...

If I may add a comment, speaking as an occasional basement volunteer, I would like to urge everyone to follow the guidelines for this campaign precisely. It is so disappointing to open a package and find garments or blankets in a size that cannot possibly fit the requirements of a4A's partner NGO, or items that are felted, or with too short a body or short sleeves. These items simply cannot be sent to Afghanistan.The guidelines are there for a reason and a4A cannot tweak them. The easiest way for each of us to help is to provide the children of Afghanistan with exactly what we have been asked to provide for them.


MargoLynn said...

I apologize for wasting your time with my sweater that had short sleeves when I ran out of yarn. I will delete the post and not send anything like that again. I am just disappointed to think that my hard work was thrown away. I would have sent money to have it returned so that I could perhaps find yarn that matched and lengthen the sleeves, if someone had asked. I did not realize that the items that do not meet your very exacting guidelines are destroyed.

Afghan Ann said...


Let me add ... Items that don't conform to the guidelines are either given to local charities (hospital, homeless, baby program, etc.), or, if we have volunteers available and can get the task done in time for a due date, fixed appropriately, so that we can send to Afghanistan. But, we cannot promise that we can fix everything that comes in -- we do what we can. (If anyone in the SF Bay Area wants to help with the fixes, please email me directly. We always need new volunteers so as not to burn-out our long-time crew.) We don't operate with a staff, and sending items back to volunteers is beyond our capacity. We've always stated that sleeves need to go to the wrist for warmth, modesty, and custom. If we send garments that don't work for the recipients, we will lose the opportunity to work with the particular NGO. They want to ship only what they need and can use -- otherwise, the process is too burdensome and expensive for them, and they will decline to work with us again. Who would want to be the kid who gets the mittens with no room for his thumbs, for example? That would be so sad! We don't want to risk having a partner NGO stop working with us. Overall the number of items that don't conform to our guidelines is very small, but we want to send every single sweater that we can -- so we are pained when a sweater arrives with short sleeve or midriff torso, for example. We feel our approach is reasonable. I am glad that Laura posted this reminder -- worth repeating periodically.

Thanks, Ann

MargoLynn said...

I still don't understand why something sleeveless is "modest" and something with sleeves is not. Be that as it may, I now worry that although I follow the rules, measure, and even try on the items to be sure they go past my waist (often to the hip) and to my wrist (or a bit beyond), the volunteers will eyeball them and think the garments are out of proportion or not long enough in one respect or another. I have visions of them sitting around like Norns with tape measures checking everything! So maybe it's better than I no longer send garments, as it sounds like it's too much a waste of their time.

Kathy said...

MargoLynn, as a sister volunteer knitter I can understand that it's disappointing to think a sweater doesn't work. When I started knitting for another international child's charity, I once got a note back that a sweater I made was too short. My own kids were on the stocky side so it seemed fine to me, especially since I was following a pattern. But many kids patterns are geared to American taste of skimpy fits. So for awhile I did measure to make sure the waists and arms were relatively long enough. We are all volunteers sharing a goal of love and support for the kids. I do hope you'll keep at it. The children need you.

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