Amma's Helpers - Crafts for Charities
When we work selflessly for the welfare of the less fortunate and the poor, we are truly meditating on God.
As the 2004 New Year dawned some Seattle devotees came up with the idea of making scarves, afghans and hats for the poor
and homeless. We sent an email to the other members of our satsang to determine interest. It was a pleasant surprise to receive about
25 responses within a couple of days. For the afghans, we decided to use a model developed by a group called Warm Up America
where everyone makes 7 x 9 inch squares and then they are joined together.
Amma says, Do not wait for an opportunity to do a good thing. Do it immediately if it is good. Inspired by her message
we decided to get together on one Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. and our enthusiasm kept us going until 1:30 a.m. the next morning! In fact it was
such a joyful feeling that we did not want to stop! We continued to work on the squares both at home and together. By the end of a month, our group,
which we now called "Amma's Helpers" had grown to 40, as friends, colleagues and family who had either seen the afghans or heard
about the project asked to participate. By October 2004 there were 80 people on our mailing list, coming not only from Washington
State but also California, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Maine, Utah and Massachusetts.
Within the first few months we donated about 20 hats and scarves and 4 afghans to the Church of Mary Magdalene, a church for homeless and previously
homeless women. By October 2004 we had created 41 afghans, most of which were donated to Opportunity Place, a program run by the YWCA that helps
people move from homelessness into apartment living. We sew a tag onto each of the afghans we make which says,
"Made Especially for You by Amma's Helpers."
In March, our satsang was holding an auction to create money for Ammas ever growing humanitarian activities, including her effort
to build 100,000 new homes for the homeless in India. We decided to make an Amma Afghan for the auction. Soon after that afghan was
completed, we received an email from the City of Seattle requesting that we make an afghan for their charity auction as well! Since then
we have provided afghans for several auctions.
We made a special Krishna afghan to put in Amma's room during the Northwest summer retreat. That afghan
will be auctioned off during the next San Ramon auction!
We decided to give everyone who attended Ammas 2004 Northwest programs the opportunity to participate in the craft seva.
In the space of four days, 92 polar fleece scarves, 28 knitted or crocheted scarves, 18 knitted or crocheted hats and numerous
afghan squares were produced. All items made during the four day period were donated to Seattles tent city, a roaming shelter
where homeless people join together to live. Towards the end of the retreat, we asked Amma to bless everything. As She showered flower
petals on the items, she said Premam, premam, (Supreme Love). She also commented that it is very good
for people to keep their hands busy in this way.
We elected to celebrate Amma's 51st birthday by holding a month long craft intensive. By the end of the month we had made twelve afghans
(each made from 49-64 squares), 53 additional afghan squares, 58 knitted and crocheted hats, 92 knitted and crocheted scarves, 188
polar fleece scarves, 11 polar fleece ponchos and 37 polar fleece hats. The items were distributed among 8 service organizations in
Seattle and Tacoma.
The above picture shows the mountain of Afghans, polar fleece scarves, ponchos, hats, knitted / crocheted hats, scarves, squares that were made
during the month.
We continue to look for other ways to expand our project. We recently chose to provide afghans to the Freedom Project, a program which
teaches non violent communication in the prisons. They have created a Prisoner to Peacemaker award to recognize former prisoners who
are doing particularly well after their release. The afghans will be given to the people who receive that award.
Amma says, When we work selflessly for the welfare of the less fortunate and the poor, we are truly meditating on God.
Our meditation warms not only our hearts but many others as well. What can be more gratifying?
Click here to see all the afghans.
If you are interested in participating in this project either by knitting and crocheting or by donating yarn, please write to
karunap108@ comcast.net .
For more information on Amma's Humanitarian activities, please visit: