January 12, 2010: The pictures in the newspapers, on TV and the Internet are devastating. The massive damage of the 7.0 earthquake is hard to imagine even when faced with screen shots. The international response to pull people from the rubble and get supplies in is heartening as is the millions of dollars raised by individual donors and a national star-studded telethon. At the same time, however, it is disheartening to see the children.
UNICEF estimates 380,000 children had already lost one or both parents before the quake and were left homeless when their orphanages collapsed. Now, as many as one-million more have been left without one or both parents following the earthquake. UNICEF has warned the scale of the crisis has jumped to “unbearable proportions”.
Here in Sacramento, the members of Women’s Wisdom Art (WWA) swung into action. WWA is a program of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Many of the women in the program have been battered by poverty, abuse and illness and come to WWA to heal through art. But when the scope of the Haitian tragedy became evident, these women turned their attention away from their own struggles and focused on the orphans.
My name is Ann and I volunteer each week in WWA leading the yarn art class. I felt the women in WWA could have a direct impact, by creating dolls for these orphans. Immediately the women in the class began to produce great gifts. The energy spread throughout the entire program. The fabric art class began to create dolls, the collage class began crafting puppets and the ceramic class started sculpting small hearts. The energy that comes from helping one another is so healing in itself. The women have embraced the projects and are putting their whole heart into each piece. We hope to be able to send the toys near the end of February.
For more information about Women’s Wisdom Art or other programs at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, please visit www.sacramentofoodbank.org