Last night I was reading the news online and came upon an item about Phyllis Schafly. Naturally, I scrolled past it as fast as I could, and in doing so, landed on a story that was about as far from Phyllis’s hatemongering as you can get.
For the past 13 months, 82-year old Alice Fogg has been at her sewing machine in Naples, Maine, making pillows for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan hospitals.
Fogg has a friend whose son was a nurse in a military hospital in Afghanistan where there were some 1,000 wounded soldiers. So she had an exact address where she could send the pillows she makes by hand, sometimes using a 100-year-old Singer treadle sewing machine. She has made some 1,600 pillows so far. Many times, the pillows are used to comfort wounded soldiers who must make a 10-hour trip from Afghanistan to a medical facility in West Germany.
Fogg has received many notes and cards from doctors, nurses, chaplains and soldiers. Air Force Lt. Col. Dr. B. Williams wrote, “Your homemade pillows made an experience for many young men and women more tolerable.”
Fogg says she will make the pillows as long as she is able. “I feel like I am worthwhile. I am doing something that’s good, not just sitting around,” she said.
God(ess) bless this awesome lady. She reminds me of my own grandparents. Both are tremendously skilled with their hands, and for as long as they were physically able, they put those skills to use for humanity; Grandma sewed quilts for homeless shelters and grandpa built cabinets in his basement workshop for Habitat houses. It’s a tangible, simple, immediate form of activism that I find more inspiring than simply writing an 8-figure check (although I certainly ain’t knocking them). There are some amazing charities whose mission is making things for others and infusing them with your goodwill and lovingkindness, like the Shawl Ministry, founded by a feminist spiritual collective, and afghans for Afghans, which sends hand-knits to Afghan schools and refugee centers (MamaSharper knits hats for them).
Are there any charities or activists whose stories/mission inspire you? Anything that you do yourself that in its own small way makes you feel like you’re doing good for humankind?