If you've been following along for the last couple weeks, then you know that I've been selling the scrappy pin cushions I started making from a collection of pin cushion parts. These semi-constructed pin cushions have been in my stash for a very long time. At the beginning of the pandemic back in March, I pulled them out and started finishing them one by one--one per week, until they're done.
For the longest time, I didn't have a plan for them, and folks started asking. What will you do with the pin cushions? A colleague suggested I auction them for charity. And things kinda went from there.
Each pin cushion has some hand embroidered embellishments and is stuffed with wool batting scraps. They are ready to use and would make great gifts for the crafter on your list. You'll see this week's finish at the bottom of this message.
The most exciting thing about these silly pin cushions is that this whole thing has become greater than the actual pin cushions!
Last week, with the start of November just around the corner, I headed out to the local food bank to investigate an idea.
Here in the US, November is Thanksgiving month, highlighting and celebrating gratitude for harvest blessings. This year, Thanksgiving is bound to have a different feel for many folks.
For this reason, I chose to highlight local Feeding America Food Banks for the ongoing pin cushion bidding.
I have to admit, I didn't know much about the Food Bank organization before visiting. Every year, at the holidays, my local attorney's office makes a contribution to the local food bank in lieu of sending holiday greetings and gifts. That's about all I knew.
I made a few phone calls and was graciously invited to visit the Food Bank of Central New York to see for myself how things work.
I was immediately blown away by the enormous 74,000 square-foot warehouse-sized facility, stocked to the gills with food that is turned around quickly. Nutritious food is delivered to pantries, soup kitchens, and individuals throughout a large 11-county area.
My visit was in the middle of the morning and the facility was full of activity.
Incoming food is sorted by how it'll be distributed and used. Some items go right back out the door almost immediately. Some is sorted and stored for distribution to Food Pantries and soup kitchens as requested and needed.
Food doesn't just come from grocery chains, farmers provide excess fresh produce at reduced high-volume pricing.
All the healthy and nutritious food groups are represented. I've never seen so many eggs in one place at one time! I suppose, that many eggs is not so unusual, but to me 'a lot of eggs' is when I buy the 18-egg carton instead of the 12-egg carton!
The Food Bank welcomes donations from individuals, food drives, as well from corporate donations. The Food Bank supplements what it needs for pantry deliveries with large-volume discounted purchasing arrangements.
Nothing is wasted! Do you ever wonder what happens to all that stuff--meats especially--in the grocery store with an upcoming expiration date on it?
Before the use-by date, the local partner grocery chains pull those packages of meat and freeze them. Once frozen, they can then be added safely to the distribution network. At the Food Bank, frozen meats are sorted by type, chicken, beef, pork and other proteins for distribution to their service network like pantries and soup kitchens.
You know, none of this stuff happens without an amazing volunteer and employee corps! While I was snapping a picture of this line of volunteers packing 150+ boxes full of food for delivery to a community food distribution later that afternoon, Renzo, the Mobile Food Pantry Coordinator, photo-bombed with a huge smile on his face - you can't see it but you know it's there - and a thumbs up!
Without knowing much about Renzo, after meeting him for just a few minutes, it's abundantly clear that he keeps everyone motivated by his personality!
So here's the pin cushion plan
Each LOCAL Food Bank facility operates independently. Each Food Bank across the country (and internationally) has its own facilities, service area, employees, volunteers, and board of directors.
They are all separate and individual operations.
The 'member' Food Banks benefit from the larger 'umbrella' organization called Feeding America.
If you decide to purchase a pin cushion for the next few weeks, I will donate 100% of your pin cushion contribution back to YOUR local Food Bank organization. As before, of course, you get the pin cushion! And the satisfaction that someone in your area is going to be eating well!
For my area, $1 covers the cost of THREE meals! Costs vary from location to location. Regardless, think of the impact!
I'll find the Food Bank servicing your area (you can too) with a zip code look up on the Feeding America site.
This is the back of Renzo's T-shirt.
You know, there are a lot of things in this world right now that we can't control very much.
During the pandemic Food Bank distribution is up by about 60%.
The need is here and now.
What an exciting way to make a difference!
Puffy Pin Cushion #32
At some point in the pin cushion-parts-making process, I must have had some half-square triangle leftovers. A bunch of the pin-cushions-in-waiting include them. For this one, the top and bottom have HSTs rotated into broken dishes blocks. Most of the others in the stack are pinwheel blocks.
8 to go! . . .
Make your own four-patch pin cushions. For the step-by-step tutorial, jump over to the blog and scroll down to the first Puffy Fours post from March 5. That's when I started, about the same time the world was shutting down. And that'll bring you to the beginning of the four-part tutorial.