one of my favorite projects of the past year has been creating and compiling the little bird boxes. each box features a different arts and crafts theme for children aged 12 months and up- there are design your own dreamcatcher boxes for older children, for those aged 3 to 12, there are create your own cloth bag boxes, paint ceramic tiles like picasso boxes, decorate your own treasure chest boxes,and for little ones, aged 1-3 years old, there are process art oriented baby boxes.
the project started off last june with the best of intentions, and so much amazing support from SO many people- inspiration from my office mates, design and printing help from friends, and moral support from so many like-minded parents; however, as often happens, life just sort of got in the way.
part of the problem was that little bird boxes were my first real foray into true retail work, and i have to say i was underprepared for the amount of work would be necessary. i was unable to pay these beautiful boxes the attention that they deserve and soon found myself with a wonderful stock of surplus boxes.
after much thought, and more than a few sleepless nights, i realized that what would really make my heart happy would be to make sure the boxes found good homes 🙂
to this end, last december, i arranged to donate approximately half the boxes to the pediatric oncology unit at the koç university hospital and kept the rest for possible future sales.
but with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic here in turkey and around the world, the little bird boxes suddenly took on new meaning for me. as we, here in my home, scrambled to make sure we had enough art supplies, activities, games and books at home to weather at least a couple of weeks of self-isolation (we are now surely OVERLY prepared)- i couldn’t help but think of the very many children here in istanbul whose parents do not have luxury of being home with their children to help with e-learning or propose a continual stream of activities and entertainment; let alone the resources necessary to create an art and game supply closet.
and so…. with the help of the amazing istanbul gönüllüleri volunteer network, all our remaining little bird boxes on currently on their way to children in need of just this sort of assistance!!
the girls and i spent all yesterday afternoon and evening stuffing each box with whatever extra supplies we could find- there are extra boxes to paint for each child, glitter glue with which to decorate them, and plenty of surplus supplies to encourage children to come up with some arty ideas on their own later on. we also added a whole bunch of books to the mix for some extra fun!
Covid-19 has forced us all, the whole world, to take a much-needed pause and reflect on what is really important and valuable in our lives. for me, this imposed slowing down of my own pace of life has helped me to remember what really makes me happy; giving and sharing with others. in this time of social distancing, uncertainty and fear it is hard to know how and even exactly what we can give to others…and i am so grateful for the opportunity to share some of our good fortune in this way.
including my children in this work of giving and sharing has always been important to me. it is likely that social distancing will require us to become even more isolated in the coming days… but we have some new ideas up our sleeves… stay tuned!!
below are two donation options currently being run through the istanbul municipal government and spearheaded by their corps of volunteers; istanbul gönüllüleri.
In addition, the world health organization is accepting donations to help with the global response:
And for those looking to donate in the US, the salvation army is always a good choice: