Thursday, February 16, 2017

My New Charity Work

            Back in November (it kinda feels like the good old days now, doesn’t it?) I felt helpless when Donald Trump was elected President. (If you are a Trump supporter, please don't stop reading. I'm speaking to everyone, not just those who feel as I do.) I feared for myself, women, the planet, the country, the world, the Latinx population, Black people, the lgbtq+ population, Muslims, people with disabilities, and so many others. Now, I also fear for the state of the media and our ability to get the real facts, and the first amendment. I fear for things I probably haven’t yet realized I should be afraid for. But, let’s go back to how I felt in November. You know, the happier times.

After Trump won, that depressed, helpless feeling threatened to crush me. I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what. People were out protesting, and as someone with an invisible disability, I couldn't do that. People were donating to various organizations like the ACLU and other civil rights group, but as a person in an ongoing battle with an insurance company over a worker’s comp injury, I couldn’t do that either.

A week after the election, a good friend of mine had an idea. Motivated by the safety pin movement, she decided to take it to the next level by getting volunteers together to create jewelry made out of safety pins, sell it on Etsy, and donate 100% of the proceeds to various charities. She called it Pins With Purpose. The current list of organizations we support includes: The Trevor Project (helping LGBTQ+ youth), Trans Lifeline, Border Angels (helps immigrants), The International Rescue Committee (helps refugees), The Mexican American Legal Defense fund, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Lives Matter, RAINN-Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, The Native American Rights fund, Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood, Propublica (supports free press), The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Earth Justice. As you can see, we’re ambitious and have our hands full.

My friend asked for volunteers to create jewelry. We would be donating our own supplies and only be reimbursed for shipping and shipping supplies. At first I said no, because I didn’t think I’d be very good at making jewelry. A few days later, I started having ideas for projects, so I decided to help. I didn't have a lot of $, but I was able to buy enough beads to get started. Also, my wonderful sister gave me a lot of beads, and so did my wonderful mother out-law. It’s been hard, learning something new, but I love it. As a writer, I consider myself an artist, but I never thought I could create jewelry. It also feels good to know I am doing something. I’ve been getting a lot better at it too. It’s therapeutic and fun. I’ve also became the self-appointed Twitter manager, where I spend several hours a week putting Tweets together so people will actual be aware that Pins With Purpose exists.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I once worked in human services, in direct-care. I loved the people I worked with and the joy I got knowing I was making a difference in the lives of such wonderful individuals. Since my on-the-job injury, the company was forced to lay me off (no hard feelings—it is what it is). One of the things that has hurt so much about it, was that I was no longer helping people. Knowing I was making a difference in the lives of wonderful, beautiful people was what made that tough job worth it. I missed that feeling. I know I need to take care of myself and my health, but I’ve felt useless lately, which made my depression worse. It feels good knowing that I am helping, even just a little. I’m so grateful to my friend for starting Pins With Purpose, and am proud to be a part of it. So far, Pins With Purpose has raised over $800 for our various organizations, which is pretty remarkable considering it’s only been 3 months.

            This post it about sharing my experience, but we also need help, and that's where you--my fabulous, amazing readers--come in. We need sales and we need help with advertising. I realize that many of you have probably seen my FB posts about the items for sale, but may not have understood what it’s about. Now you do, and may be more motivated to help.

            Here are some ways you can help:

            • Like our FB page:
                        • Invite your friends to like it
                        • Share the individual posts
            • Follow us on Twitter: @PinsWithPurpose
                        • Like and retweet us

            • Check out our Etsy shop and see if there is anything you might like to buy (100% of sales go to the organization the item supports)
                        • Each item is connected to a particular organization, but we have a wide variety of items for each one.
                        • If you do buy something, leaving us a review would be awesome

          Pins With Purpose is made up of a handful of artists. We all have our own unique style, which means we have a variety of designs and styles. If you know me personally and are interested in knowing which items I made, checkout my FB profile, where I have a “my jewelry” album.

            I would like to add that, for me, this goes beyond politics. I don’t care if you voted for Trump, Johnson, Clinton, Stein, or wrote in Sanders or Mickey Mouse. Yes, Pins With Purpose was created as a response to Trump being elected, but this is about helping people who need help. You don’t have to be against Trump to want to help people. And if you disagree with some of our organizations, then we have plenty of others that you might not disagree with. If you are pro-life, then I don’t expect you to go against your personal beliefs and donate to Planned Parenthood, but maybe you could donate to RAINN (helping victims of sexual violence) instead. If you insist on believing that Black Lives Matter is a hate group (it isn’t) then why not donate to the NAACP instead? If you’re tired of being called a racist, bigot, homophobe, or xenophobe because you voted for Trump, then maybe donate to the NAACP, The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline, or one of our many organizations that support immigrants and refugees. And then there’s the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. They help with civil rights for everyone. So who wouldn’t want to donate to them? My point, is that everyone can help. And again, it’s cool if you can’t/don’t want to buy anything. Even a like on FB or a share of a post would help.

            I think what’s important right now is that we come together as Americans and help one another, because we really need it right now.

            Thank you, everyone, for helping! You are all awesome!