There might be a day in the future when we stop looking at each other in wonder. At the volume of Amazon boxes UPS delivers every day. At the people who ask what more they can do to help. At the business owners who set out a box and ask their customers to contribute. That day might come, but I hope it's far in the future. You really can't beat the feeling of awe that happens when you learn the very best of people.
Even with that feeling coming every day, it can still catch me off-guard. That was true a few weeks ago when I heard from the owner of a knitting subscription company I'd subscribed to for several years. I had also done a little bit of consulting for the company, but I let that and my subscription lapse when a new owner came on board. I tried to put off his call by saying that I was far too busy with a new organization I'd started, but my excitement about Butterfly Boxes got the better of me when he asked if I'd tell him a little about it.
It turns out KNITCRATE owner Rob Colon and I have something in common. We both have parents who were children when their families were forced to flee Cuba after the revolution. For me and my family, that’s meant keeping an eye on how we can help new refugees as they are resettled in the same city that welcomed my grandparents to safely raise their 10 children. It’s meant paying forward the generosity that allowed my dad and his siblings to flourish. And more recently, it's meant Butterfly Boxes.
For Rob, this shared experience of the refugee history meant immediately responding with “How can KNITCRATE help?” Well... my dad’s family has a tradition of welcoming every new family member with a quilt made by many of us working together. We strive to have an echo of that tradition by committing to include handmade items in as many Butterfly Boxes as we can. After all, we’re welcoming new neighbors into our community. I told Rob about the snow that was swirling around out my window and about the family of 8 Somalis that we'd welcomed at the airport, just 2 pieces of luggage among them - none of which contained hats, gloves, or other cold-weather appropriate clothing. So I suggested sharing information about Butterfly Boxes with their subscribers, who live around the globe, hoping to encourage them to check out our website and contribute should they feel compelled - or to encourage them to find a similar opportunity local to them.
I wasn’t thinking big enough. Or not as big as Rob, anyway. He came back with a proposal to name Butterfly Boxes the KNITCRATE Charity of the Year for 2017. That feeling of awe grabbed hold of me again - he gets it. With more than 1,300 refugees arriving in our community this year, all lacking cold weather items like hats, gloves, & scarves, but also washcloths & comforting items like toys and baby blankets, the need is constant. And Rob wanted his company to do something about it.
Every month this year, we'll identify a high-need seasonal item, and Rob & his team will offer incentives to KNITCRATE subscribers who send their handmades to us to distribute in Butterfly Boxes.
We're going to be watching social media for #knitcrategives and #butterflyboxeshandmade, but I'm still steeling myself for the constant wonder of every time we open a package of handknits from around the world. We are so lucky. We get to learn and receive the very best of people.
Adrienne & Alysson