Okay, so here is what has happened lately:
1. Carlene and I went to the Pauktuutit Annual General Meeting. What an amazing group of northern women. Basically the AGM gathers Inuit women from all over Canada, and they meet for a week to talk about the issues of the day. The President introduced us, and three communities approached us to start thinking about working up a project with them - nice! One of the ones that really struck my fancy was an Inuit daycare and safe shelter in Rankin Inlet. Immediately, I'm thinking, hey, if we could give every child in that daycare a blanket for naptime wouldn't that be something. The really amazing thing was that Pauktuutit thinks that they can hook us up with the head honcho's at First Air so we can coordinate the shipping. (First Air, if you are reading this, we really really want to work you).
2. We spoke with Sheshatsuit this week. I love those guys - its taken a few years but I think that they kind of know "the knitting ladies" now. They tend to laugh when I'm talking (I get a bit excited and start speaking wayyy to fast) and they are much more direct, as in: "we need the following", rather than, "oh, anything will be fine". It really is a totally different culture. Whenever I get off the phone with them, I feel like such a Type A personality. Oh, wait a minute. I am a type A.
So this is what they said: the stuff that we sent in October is loooong gone, distributed pretty much as soon as they got it. They had enough lap blankets to distribute to all the new babies, the kids and then some, so they gave a few to the elders who are wheelchair bound to use as lap blankets. They have held back 10 blankets which they want to keep for new births - fine by me.
For the next campaign, we can send everything that we usually do but they would LOVE to receive lots of socks and sweaters, and they would be very happy if we could do some in the larger sizes.
3. The shipment to the Moosonee Native Friendship Centre went off and we are waiting to hear back from them that items have been received and distributed.
4. The website is now up, thanks to Carlene! Check it out at www.warmhandsnetwork.org.
5. The handwash dilemma is solved (well, partially)! We talked to Wool-aid and here is what we are doing: we are buying sew-on tags which we will sew into all blankets, sweaters and vests that are not machine washable (it would be great if you could attach paper tags letting us know if your stuff fits this criteria). We will attach the tags before we send the items out. According to our discussions with Moosonee, Pauktuutit, and Sheshatsuit, folks there are well aware of washing rules re wool, but its always best to remind (given that I have shrunk many a handwash myself).
So the September 2011 campaign looks like this:
1. We are once again shipping to Sheshatsuit for the Innu kids (and now elders too). Same parameters BUT things have changed up there, so we are adapting a bit as well:
- machine washable is preferred for sweaters and blankets. If your item is handwash, let us know and we will sew on a tag.
2. We are shipping to the Cree kids of James Bay. These items will be shipped up to Moosonee, and distributed through the headstart and pre-natal programs there. As well some boxes will go up to Keshashewan via Air Creebec.
If you have a preference for where your items should go, please give us a heads-up.
Deadline: September 30th as usual.