4,000 Hats in 40 days

6:05 PM

Impressive, isn't it? It's a Ravelry Group that has made it their mission to try and knit/collect 4,000 hats during the 40 days of Lent for the Seaman's Church Institute. I have to admit, I'm intrigued.

Here's my conundrum, though... The Seaman's Institute is a fine program. I've knit for them in the past, right about the last time I picked up knitting. They received several garter-stitch hats and scarves made from the finest Red-Heart acrylic. (What? They requested the acrylic and I didn't know anything about yarn at that point, anyway.) And then I discovered Seafarer's Friend.

At this point in time, I prefer donating to the latter organization. Both carry out work to benefit working, merchant-type (as opposed to Navy-type) sailors. Both are Christian organizations, and the Seaman's Institute is even affiliated with the good ol' Episcopal Church*. But Seafarer's Friend is local. Donations go to sailors who come to my town during the course of their work. It's a way to express not only a sort of Christian hospitality, but also to extend hospitality on behalf of my community.

I'm big on local involvement. I truly believe that if we want to make the world a better place, we need to take a look out of our own front doors. And I believe that improvements in our immediate communities--familial, civic, religious, scholastic, whatever--can spread out and take root in ever widening groups. This isn't to say that one should never give to International Organizations--they need our help, too! I've just seen, way too often, people get wrapped up in the drama of feeding starving children halfway around the world while ignoring the starving child down the street.

My dream is to see a world with no starving children. But I digress.

4,000 hats in 40 days. Think of all the working sailors this would warm. Knitting seems an appropriate Lenten devotion, doesn't it? Many years ago I came to the realization that giving something up for Lent doesn't work for me. Deprivation does not help me get ready. Instead, I add something. I say morning prayer. Or I sing Compline every night. But devotional knitting might be the ticket for me this year. Maybe hats. Maybe Magic 28 socks. (Yes, Marianne, I'm still knitting them. I just never think to photograph them.) I've still got a little time to think about what I might like to do and where to send them.

What about you? Do you all have charitable organizations of choice for knitted stuff? Favorite places to do volunteer work? Lenten plans?

*I honestly don't care if a charity organization is religiously based. They could be Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Manichean, or Atheist for all I care. The important thing is that they do good works and I can buy into some aspect of their mission. I don't even have to agree with all of what they believe--I've got problems with the theological beliefs of the Salvation Army, but they feed the hungry and do amazing relief work and I respect that and happily work their soup kitchen. In any event, I think the only reason I used the religious descriptor was to, well, describe the organizations.

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