Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giving Back - Iraqi Bundles of Love

I've been meaning to post about this for a while now, but life keeps getting away from me!  A while back, a friend from my hometown contacted me about a relief effort for victims of war torn areas.  She works at the Notre Dame Alumni Association and one of her board members sent her information about her brother’s project sending quilting/craft supplies to Iraq and other areas of the world.  Well I respect people who are on the board of the ND alumni association so I was pretty confident that this was worth looking into.  So I hopped on over to the website.

I was delighted to find that some of you already have participated in this (I recognized some names) and was even more encouraged to share this with the rest of you.  I contacted the organizer personally to get more information and I was given permission to share this with you all!

"IB♥L3D is about surging sewing, quilting and knitting materials into the central Iraq.  I am stationed in Baghdad, but this next surge of bundles is aimed at Fallujah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah), in the Anbar Province to the West of Baghdad.  It's also aimed at a specific demographic -- widows.  

Why Fallujah?  It's a word and place that resonates with many in the military.  It's where insurgents captured, killed, and paraded the bodies of four Blackwater employees.  It's where there were tough violent struggles, the first and second battles of Fallujah.  It's a place that even today looks as if the fighting just ended today.  And it's a place where, even today, there is crime, violence, insurgent groups and attacks on the guilty and the innocent.  

I tell people that what today separates Japan from places like Fallujah is the gunfire.  And I tell people that what separates IBOL from other efforts is our ability to go to places like Fallujah, when others just can't.  Fallujah is exactly the kind of place IBOL was meant to go.

And why widows?  I don't think there's a tougher life in Iraq, than that of a widow.  It's about widows because so much of IBOL is about women, and wives, and mothers, and daughters.  It's about widows because change isn't going to come from angry men, or their weapons, but from homes, and families, and the women that keep them all together. 

But, enough with the soapbox.  Let's talk IBOL.

The goal is to get stuff into the mail before the end of April.  Jared and crew will take all the help they can get, so send one box, send 53 -- send what you can and what you want to send. It's a good crew in Fallujah, it's an honor to work with and support them on this.    

The Post Office will make you fill out a Custom form.  Fear not -- if they ask you for Jared's phone number, just give 'em yours.  Or mine.  It won't matter -- no one can call us here anyway.

Yes, by all means, slip something inside for a kid.  A toy, some chalk, some crayons, a bouncy ball.  A pair of shoes.  Not a lot, just a little, if you're so inclined.  Where there are widows in Iraq, there are kids in need, too.

Anything and everything gets put to use here -- this, after Iraq was under sanctions for so long.  Bigger is definitely better -- bigger pieces of fabric, bigger hanks of yarn (send the whole bolt; don't sent the whole sheep).  

The general information is here:  http://ibol.wordpress.com/what-to-send/

Information on how to build a bundle is here: http://ibol.wordpress.com/building-a-bundle/

When all else fails, the frequently asked questions are here: http://ibol.wordpress.com/faq/

Honestly, I think the IBOL Kitteh stuff is the funniest part of this project: http://ibol.wordpress.com/tag/ibol-kitteh/

Simple fabric is good.  Stripes work, too.  Scissors are OK.  Ditto for needles -- yes, knitting needles, too.  Fabric is far more likely to be used for clothing than for quilting, but that's not an absolute.  I'm keeping the mailing address off of the web, as best I can.

And did I mention that bigger is definitely better -- bigger pieces of fabric, bigger skeins of yarn?  

Did I miss something?  Let me know.

And if you really want to make my day, take and send to me photos of you and your bundle.  I love getting them, and I love having them to share on the website. "

I know that I am nearing the end of April here already but they said to go ahead and post this now anyway...

"Yes, tell people it's very close to the deadline for putting them into the mail, but to not worry -- I am lining up one more go-around for this summer, in advance of Ramadan.  So the next round may kick off right away or sometime in late may (to get things into the mail before the end of June, I suspect). 

It'll be going for a while.  Not Fallujah -- that's about done -- but IBOL this year."

You may have noticed one thing is missing.  The address.  I have it or you can find more information on their website and contact them directly.  They are trying to keep the address off the internet (I think we all understand the need for some privacy).  So feel free to contact me for the address or them.  I'm not entirely sure if the address that I have will be the one that they use for the next round, so it is probably safe to contact me if you are able to participate in this now and then contact them directly for the address if you are able to participate later.

I know that I have fabric that I am not going to use...things like fabric from online stores who have mailed the wrong fabrics or fabric that people have given to me because they know I sew... you get it.   A lot of us have something to give.  In the spirit of new life and the Easter season, I think that this is a great way to help the world.  I've heard it said by many that if only the world were run by quilters, there would be a great deal more peace.  So let's see if we make a small part of that true.  Oh and it's also perfect for those itching to do a little spring cleaning.  ;)

Oh and because you have to have pictures in a post...I know you're all longing to see what my family looked like on Easter. ;)

Easter Time

Easter Joy!

Oh we love that girl!


  1. I sent two packages last year. It really does feel good to think that there are women helping other women all over the world. I hope they are received in the spirit they are given - as a symbol of love.

  2. What a lovely post. And cute family, beautiful dress, lovely corsage. And I never get tired of your haircut!

  3. I so love IBOL. I've been participating since the beginning and as you've said, a way to give back. Thanks for spreading the word!

  4. I'd love to participate in this. Thanks for posting about it Angela. Could you email me the address?

    Also, your family is too CUTE for words! That one of Caitlyn being all cute and happy with the cup actually made me laugh out loud and say, "Awwww". Love it.


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