I belong to a stitcher's group that is trying to get together stitching supplies for Katrina victims. We want to help our fellow stitchers build their "stash" again. Someone objected to the idea, saying that it was in poor taste and that hurricane victims didn't care about their supplies and that they were only concerned about the necessities of life.
I have to disagree about a stitcher's stash not being important to restore. When I evacuated from Floyd, I took my collection of all the DMC floss and my favorite projects. I knew they would be important to my personal recovery. Of course, people need food and shelter most, but they also need things that sweeten their lives. For most of us, stitching in any form helps us to sort out the problems of the day and keeps us sane. You might say it is our "blanky." Our stash looks forward to a future and people who have lost everything need to look toward a future that isn't bare bones necessity. They have to know that life will be normal again.
If we were the Red Cross, it would be stupid to collect stitching supplies. Organizations such as that deal in absolute necessity, but we are stitchers and we are reaching out to fellow stitchers and telling them that they will get their lives back. Their world is made up of incredible loss and we want them to be able to look forward to planning projects.
I read a book about the great cathedrals and the author said that there was a time when it was thought wrong to pour so much money into cathedrals while there were so many poor in the surrounding areas. In some cases, work was stopped on some cathedrals and, surprisingly, it was the poor who objected the most. Their lives were mired in grinding poverty, but they could always go to their cathedral and be surrounded by incredible beauty. The cathedral was the only beauty they owned. The community gave it's best to the cathedral. It employed generations of craftsmen in the surrounding areas and even those who could not contribute their work took pride in it. It wasn't too long before work on the cathedrals was started again.
Life cannot be just about the practical, even in the earliest stages of recovery. There has to be room for hope. For a stitcher, new projects mean hope. The hurricane victims will have days and days of clean-up. As they sift through the rubble they will be pierced again and again by evidence of destruction and loss. It will all seem hopeless and then someone from our group will come to them and let them pick out what they need for a new project. At the end of a day of hard work and frustration, they will grab the needles and yarn, or cross stitch or needlepoint and just for an hour or so, they will feel normal again. The day won't be all hardtack and beans. They can look forward to more stitching supplies as soon as they have room for them. They can look forward to getting their life back again.