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An honest talk about charity, donating and the Philippines

I was going to show you how I made my monster skirt today… but I’ve postponed it a little because there’s a topic weighing heavily on me that I want to talk about.

By most reports, the typhoon that struck the Philippines is the worst tropical storm to make landfall. The death toll is over 3,000 and some estimates predict it will reach 10,000.

What I’m about to say may be controversial, but please hear me out.

Donating toys to the Philippines

Please do not send stuffed animals to the Philippines

The victims of the Philippines typhoon do not have food, drinking water or medicine. They don’t have enough personnel to move debris to search for survivors, or enough well-bodied people to bury their dead. It is a catastrophic situation that most of us find hard to imagine.

As crafters, we want to help. Our first instinct is to make/sew something to send to people in need.

This is a great instinct, but we need to use our judgement. We need devote our crafting energy towards causes where we can make the greatest impact.

And right now isn’t the time. Let me tell you a little about what we learned from Newtown…

Lessons from Newtown

Do you remember when we collected stuffed animals to send to the children of the Newtown tragedy? Crafters banded together and sent an astonishing number of stuffed animals. I was so proud!

I was devastated to find out that what we thought was a great idea turned into a burden. The town was overwhelmed with stuffed animals, requiring countless volunteers and warehouses.

It breaks my heart to say that many of those animals never made it to children. There were just too many.

Do what is most needed

I love stuffed animals (trust me!), but we need to make sure we are doing what is best for the disaster area. The people in the Philippines need water and relief workers, and right now, the best way to get that help to them is to donate money to a relief organization.

Sending a stuffed animal to the Philippines won’t calm the grumble of a child’s hungry tummy and it takes up valuable shipping and distribution resources that are needed for essentials. The shipping cost, alone, would provide food for a family for days.

Use the tragedy to inspire your charity crafting

I know that in horrible times such as this, your fingers get itching to make something… that’s wonderful! You can still help! Maybe you make animals and sell them, donating the profits to the relief effort.

Or maybe you feel inspired to make animals… but save them and donate them to your local fire department, to calm a local child after a scary incident.

amigurumi crochet bear

Crafters are an amazingly caring group of people. Please continue the tradition of caring by doing what’s best for the disaster-struck region. Send money. Save your stuffed animals for where they’re needed.


  1. ZoeOB SAYS...

    Thank you, Stacey, for such a thoughtful post. Indeed, while our hearts are in the right place we must remember that some things have a higher priority than others. This is not to say we cannot donate toys, blankets, or garments. But when disaster strikes, the most important things are food, water and medicine. I’d like to suggest that if you have a credit card, many have several ways to donate your points to charity as well. One company will even use the points to purchase airline tickets for Red Cross volunteers. This is what we did after Hurricane Sandy. It’s a great way to help and reach people who need it most.

    • That’s a great suggestion!
      And yes, I meant to say, ‘don’t sent toys to the Philippines, YET’. In 2 weeks or a month, those comforts may be welcome. But now isn’t the time.

  2. The people on the Phillippines needs our help to overcome this terrible crisis. Good of you to write about it and ask us for the right helpful actions.

    Love, Margaret

  3. Thank you for posting this! It is really sad to see what these people are going through. I hope things take a turn for the better!

  4. Thank you Stacey!! I’m one of your readers from the Philippines and I’m very touched by the outpouring of generosity and concern from all over the world. Thank you so much.

    Hope this is helpful: “Your $5 donation to the Philippines can go a long way. It can buy: 16 pounds of rice or 10 cans of sardines or 21 liters of water. So do not thing that $5 is too little to give. It can save so many lives!!!”

    • Thanks for chiming in, Sylvia! It’s amazing to think how such a small amount as 5 dollars can be so helpful!

  5. lisa mcfetridge SAYS...

    Agree, agree, agree!
    Each year, in january, i design 20 hats to order, whatever the buyer wants. I charge $50 each, then donate all the cash to the red cross for a specific use (so far, Haiti, Japan and Sandy relief) This January I already committed to The Jimmy Fund in honor of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer murdered by the Marathon Bombers, so I ran a pattern special recently with the proceeds going to the Red Cross for the Haiyan victims.

    Money is always of more immediate help in a crisis. Thanks for getting the word out.
    Lisa McFetridge

    • That is such an amazing idea of yours, Lisa! Great work!

    • Amy SAYS...

      I was just thinking this–for those of us who craft, we can make items for sale and donate the money to charity.

  6. Ellisen SAYS...

    Makes good sense to me, Thanks, Stacey

  7. Pauline Cowie SAYS...

    I can see the sense in what you say, but the toys still need to go that where sent, people where thinking with their hearts and the comfort they would give to the children. But money and food first I agree 😀

  8. I am touched by this Stacey. I am one of your students in Craftsy and subscriber of your blog. I am from the Philippines and I agree with you. To give money instead of toys is much better.

    Sylvia, made a great point on how much $5 can help.

    We are facing a challenging time right now. In behalf of all Filipinos, we would like to thak you Stacey and all of those who have helped and prayed for us. We will always be grateful. ♥