Our shrug coordinator, Erin Waterman, recently delivered 15 Stay Strong Totes to the Seattle, RMD House! Thank you Erin! If you would like to support the Seattle RMD House, please contact Erin. If you would like to donate to a RMD House, check OUR LIST to find a coordinator closest to you or maybe you’d like to consider being a coordinator and bring Stay Strong Totes to your local RMD House. Email Mary for info.
Erin was kind enough to share this story with me.
“Something kind of amazing happened this weekend when I attended a “vow renewal” ceremony of a relative. A long-time family friend of that family officiated and it turns out she is one of I believe two female Episcopalian Bishops in the US (out of Boston). Well, I was talking about the shawl/RMD project and showed her a few of my completed shawls. She said, “You do know this is your ministry, don’t you?” I said, I never thought of it that way. She immediately loved one of them so much I gave it to her. Even though I’m not of that faith, it makes me feel wonderful knowing that such a person is wearing one of my creations!
I love the process more than the product, and sometimes it’s amazing how letting go of what we create can flow where it needs to go. : )”
Erin’s story is not only a reminder of how generous knitters and crocheters can be, but how when made with intention, our knitted and crocheted projects become gifts that carry with them our love and prayers. I am humbled that an Episcopalian Bishop would refer to our work as a ministry.
The verb “minister” means to attend to the needs of another. I love that this is what we do. Knitters and crocheters happily spend their time and energy finding and addressing the needs of others. The same way mothers happily do all they can to be there for their children.
I’ve been asked how the Stay Strong Tote foundation began. For the past few years, I’ve been delivering donations to my local Ronald McDonald House. I never stay long but I have seen some of the families staying there. During one visit, a cutie named Ellie stood out. She looked so carefree as she skipped through the House. You’d never know she was ill, if her little bald head didn’t give away her secret. Her mom slowly followed behind, wrapped tightly in a sweater – even though it was July. She looked so tired. I just wanted to give her a hug. And tell her what . . . What could I possibly say to this brave woman. Ellie’s dad and brothers had recently visited but needed to go back home – halfway across the country – where work and school waited. So Ellie and her mom spent their days here in New Jersey battling together. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them.
I had no idea where to begin, but leaving my RMD House that day, the thought of not doing anything felt more wrong than mistakes I might make along the way.
Sending Hugs through Shrugs along with our Stay Strong Tote care packages lets these moms know we are thinking of them. And, same as Erin, I feel wonderful knowing that these warrior moms will be wrapped in our love and prayers.
Being a mom is its own beautiful ministry (M O M – Ministry Of Mothering – makes sense to me!). Our lives are forever changed when our children are placed in our arms for the first time. They instantly become our first priority and we feel a love like we have never known before. Moms share a common bond. We are our own tribe. We at the Stay Strong Tote foundation support moms with seriously ill children because what they are going through is just unfair. We do what we do because there are no words. We are angry and we are in awe of their strength.
On Mother’s Day there will be no rest for some of our “MOM” sisters. They will gladly spend the day doing all they can to make the day easier for their children. That’s what moms do – and that’s why we are supporting them.
The Stay Strong Tote foundation is hoping to add Bear Buddies to each Tote for the children. Our pattern can be purchased for a $5 donation. Our Stay Strong Bear Buddy kits can be purchased for a $25 donation which includes postage and processing fees and fully funds one Tote. A card recognizing your generosity will be included in a Tote.
Thank you to Carole who recently delivered another 15 Totes to Denver RMD House and all of our coordinators for trying to raise awareness and generate support for their local RMD House. Remember, if you are in Rhode Island, Love 2 Knit is collecting shrugs for the Providence House. We also have shipped and delivered 16 Stay Strong Totes in 2 Houses in New Jersey. We are growing but still need lots of help. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!