Next month I'm helping Carry The Future distribute new, or gently-used, baby carriers to refugees arriving in Greece. I'm fundraising to try to cover the cost of airfare from San Diego to Los Angeles (where I'll meet the rest of my team and pick up hundreds of pounds of baby carriers in lieu of luggage) and then from LAX we'll fly to Athens.
Right now I'm $300 from reaching my goal. Can you help? https://www.youcaring.com/charlotte-kaufman-503280 Goal reached!!!! Thank you!! Please see post update at bottom for more ways you can help!
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know how important babywearing is to me. Click on the tag 'babywearing' and you'll find it highlighted through five year's worth of my posts.
When I found out about Carry The Future (CTF), and their very direct, and simple goal - of getting baby carriers to parents who were about to walk thousands of miles with their children in arms, I knew I'd found an organization that spoke to me.
If you are unaware of the path refugees take once they reach Greece, the map below will give you a good idea.
(Note that even on the image itself it states that this is not a precise route, and the route frequently changes with the machinations of inter and intra-country political and social wrangling in response to the crisis.)
This map comes from a Buzzfeed article that walks you through the path that refugees take on their way to safe harbor. You can read it here:
In advance of my trip I have been collecting baby carriers from my local community and connecting with other Carry The Future volunteers who are collecting as well.
I'm fundraising to cover the cost of my airfare because I'm not made of money. I very much want to go and help, but I need help to do it.
In the past week while I've asked for help, I've received incredibly positive feedback. 95% of the time people have made me think of Margaret Mead:
But the other 5% - not so much.
While it is tempting to ignore the small amount of people who don't support helping others in need, I feel like their very public comments should be addressed very publicly.
Let's start with Lawrence Collins from this post.
What makes you think the borders north will be open for them? You might try reading European publications and see the unrest over there. I highly doubt another million will make it to Europe without civil war/revolution breaking out.
It's always funny when someone tells me to read. What is this new-fangled thing you talk of - reading? Lawrence, I suggest you stop reading whatever paranoid non-news sites you get your "information" from and start taking a bit of your own advice.
You can start with this article from three days ago entitled An Even Greater Flood of Refugees is Building on Greek Island of Lesbos. Feel free also, Lawrence, to follow Twitter accounts like Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Médecins Sans Frontiers - Sea for real numbers and up-to-the-minute accounts of the current crisis.
The flow of migrants is NOT decreasing.
Next up! Nico Owlman comes in swinging with this comment:
Lots of organizations making money of the gullible. Baby carriers? Wtf? You should have a look how these people suffer. They're way beyond baby carriers. Keep out of it... The aid organizations (there are sooo many) are fighting for more and more money. Money which the needy will never see a penny of.:
Besides missing a heart, Nico also suffers from faulty logic. You know, the ole' 'these-people-have-experienced-so-many-shitty-things-that-it-is-pointless-to-try-to-do-one-thing-to-help'-kind.
Right Nico, because you know what this woman definitely could NOT use right now? A babycarrier...
This guy either...
What about here?
Here? Heck no. That lady looks positively invigorated. You think she'd like a baby carrier right now?
YOU CRAY CRAY.
Okay, okay. How about at night?
No, you're right. Babycarriers would be so unhelpful.
Nico's paternalistic 'keep out of it' is very heartwarming, isn't it? You know what, Nico. You stay home comfy and cozy, okay big guy?
There are braver people who can do the hard work.
As for his final comment, 'money that the needy will never see a penny of,' I'll nod to a kernel of truth here, but he has committed the fallacy of reductio ad absurdum. It is absurd to make a sweeping statement that money donated to charity will never be seen by those in need.
One should, however, be educated on the charities you donate to. You can find out what percentage of your money is actually given to the cause you care about by using an awesome tool called Google.
In the case of Carry The Future, volunteers collect and donate baby carriers using their own money or donations. While I am asking for help in the cost of my airfare to Greece, I will be paying for food, supplies, travel expenses, and childcare, while also losing wages while I volunteer.
Zelda Graham swoops in with this one:
Worthy cause but honesty aren't there any people with hearts left in Europe to do distribute carriers that you have to fly from US ?
Zelda has tried to hide her 'let somebody else do it' message by half-heartedly utilizing the phrase 'worthy cause.' Zelda, you aren't fooling anybody.
I thought about Googling the long list of European-aid organizations on the ground in Greece for her, but I got lazy and will just keep propping up her bubble with sarcasm instead.
No, there are no people with hearts left in Europe, (nor apparently where Zelda lives either).
And switching it around I m sure you can find tons of volunteering options closer to home and your children.
Here we have the reverse of N.I.M.B.Y-ism (not-in-my-backyard.) What shall we call it? "I'll only help if it is right-in-my-backyard." Oooh, R.I.M.B.Y-ism.
You heard it here first!
Also good news, Zelda! My children have a father. He actually knows how to take care of kids and stuff.
Can you really say that I should stay close to home because this child is not as important as my own?
Next up is Michelle with one that leaves me speechless:
I don't completely trust the motivations behind this kind of 'altruism'.
Again. I've got zero witty response to a statement like this. I'll let photos do the talking and state how grateful I am to people for their altruism in times of crisis.
That baby looks mighty suspicious of their altruism.
Another pained recipient of altruism, am I right???!!
Lastly, we have Bill:
We shouldn't interfere with their culture. If I am not mistaken the Syrian people have always carried babies with scarves...
This one falls under the logical fallacy called Appeal to Antiquity. Syrians traditionally have used scarves to wear their babies, not that it matters. Bill, I gotta tell you something, there is a LOT interfering with the Syrian culture right now.
Know what I mean?
So far, Carry the Future volunteers on the ground in Athens haven't met a single Syrian who has turned down a babycarrier in lieu of a traditional scarf.
Just yesterday a CTF volunteer posted on her Facebook page about this gentleman who was babywearing a child with a scarf. He had to keep his hands behind his back as he walked to keep the child secure. The smile of relief on his face was palpable when he accepted the free carrier.
Take your antiquity and keep it on the dusty shelves at your place, Bill.
Lastly, there was this comment that I wanted to share because it is a genuine concern/question and one that I can answer:
Just a concern: why not have someone already there hand out the baby carriers? You could buy quite a few more carriers with the savings.
People in Lesbos and Athens already are there and handing out carriers, as well as doing all kinds of other volunteer work. CTF has a permanent Athens team working as often as they can (remember they too are volunteers). I encourage you to follow CTF on Facebook or Twitter to see what the teams are doing to make a difference.
Additionally, Carry the Future, and many other aide organizations, have found that shipping donated supplies is expensive and problematic, with shipments getting lost or stuck in customs. Right now, volunteers who can fly over and bring the supplies as luggage are able to get a lot of supplies over quickly. There are thousands of refugees streaming into Europe each day. The people of Lesbos, surrounding islands, and Athens, can only do so much.
How Can You Help?
I'm currently $300 away from reaching my goal of airfare to Greece to volunteer in Athens. Can you help me get there? Goal reached!!!! Thank you!! Please see post update at bottom for more ways you can help!
PRI recently wrote an article highlighting groups you may not yet have heard of that are doing important work to help Syrian refugees.
If they are lucky, refugees will eventually make it to safe countries. Look into local groups that are helping refugees to settle in your city. Organizations like Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities and the International Rescue Committee are helping refugees in cities all across America.
Thanks for your help. #CarryTheFuture #RefugeesWelcome #SafePassage
My fundraising goal has been reached. THANK YOU!
If you are in San Diego and would like to directly help with supplies for my upcoming trip, I am collecting the following items to stuff in pockets of the babycarriers or pin to the outside of them when pockets aren't part of the carrier:
- Wool socks like these, these, and/or these
- Fleece hats & mittens like these
- Fleece & wool scarves
- Children's cotton underwear
- Comfort items & small plush toys
- Non-perishable high-protein snacks
- Chamois towels
- 25lb Carabiner S-clips
- Mylar thermal blankets
If you want me to purchase these items, you can send funds to my paypal: email@example.com and highlight which items you'd like me to purchase using the funds.
Or, send the funds directly to Carry The Future/Operation Refugee Child using the info provided below. Thank you!