Ways for Kids to Raise Money for Charity

Plus a Bat Wrap Tutorial

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the scale of the Australian wildfires. Here is a visual guide from the BBC that may help. Another BBC article says that, although recent storms have brought respite, the crisis is still far from over (published Jan. 20). “Since September, blazes have killed at least 30 people, destroyed over 2,000 homes and burnt through 10 million hectares of land – an area almost the size of England.”

When presented with a tragedy on that scale, it can be hard not to just feel overwhelmed. Especially if you’re still recovering from the holiday shopping season, etc. However, when Kristi Roe Owen mentioned to me that she was collecting yarn to donate to someone making joey pouches, I thought it might be a good idea to think of some creative ways to contribute to or raise money for Australian wildfire recovery efforts–especially ways that kids can be involved in.

I haven’t talked with Joss about the fires, but here is a guide from Unicef for talking about the fires with your kids. Some of their tips include  “Show them all the good people who are trying to help,” and “Show them how they can help.” The guide suggests brainstorming ways that your family can take actions, big or small, to help with recovery efforts. Here are my suggestions, but I’d love to hear what you come up with!!

A final note: The Unicef guide’s first tip is to “Focus on the child, not the distress.” This caution is echoed in an article from Romper titled “Talking To Kids About Australia’s Bushfires Doesn’t Have to be Scary, Experts Say,” that notes, “Avoiding addressing heavy topics with your children might be your gut instinct (admittedly, it used to be mine), but the reality is that kids need to be reassured by the adults in their life when disaster strikes. Even though you may be thousands of miles away from Australia, your kids’ awareness of pressing global issues can broaden their worldview and help them become more aware, compassionate adults one day. Of course, you’ll want to be mindful of how you deliver this information, so understanding how your child may process it is important.” So if you are going to talk to your kids about this, make sure you think about their temperament and what they can handle.

1. Crafts for Animal Rescue

Estimates say that at least 1 billion animals have probably died in the Australian fires. And of course, others have been displaced and need help. I joined the Animal Rescue Craft Guild, an Australian-based Facebook group focused on craft projects that can be used by animal rescue groups. These include sewn or knitted joey pouches, bat wraps, etc.

While the Animal Rescue Craft Guild is no longer accepting international donations–because they got SO. MANY. DONATIONS! Seriously, it’s been really neat to just follow the group and see what everyone has made to help the animals–if you want to donate crafted goods to animal rescues, you can look up local shelters and organizations who may need them. For example, you could make dog beds, small blankets, cat toys, etc. Just do your research before getting into a crafting frenzy to make sure the shelter will be able to use what you make.

One other caution from the Animal Rescue Craft Guild: While some projects, like the bat wraps tutorial I’m sharing below, may be pretty simple and even somewhat forgiving, make sure you put in good work so that the products are usable long-term and don’t fall apart after a couple washes. Also, if kids want to help, make sure to give them skill-appropriate tasks so that the overall quality of the product is still high. For example, when I made bat wraps with Joss, he got to help pick out the fabric and thread color, do some stuffing and push the sewing machine pedal when I had a long, straight seam to do. But obviously I wouldn’t have let him just go to town with the sewing machine! The ARCG recommends caretakers to consider letting kids make cards or pictures to include with the sewn items, or even decorating them with fabric markers. This way, they can participate, and the organization in question will still get a high quality item they can use.

2. Art Sale

One of my favorite blogs, Epbot, frequently does art roundups. Typically these focus on geeky art, but this month, she rounded up information from artists who are donating proceeds to help fund rescue efforts. Find that here: https://www.epbot.com/2020/01/art-for-australia-come-shop.html

Yes, I did immediately purchase an adorable “Bat Tea” print by KitschyDelish. Bats are the best! And cute little teacups are, too!

While you may not have a robust Etsy account–or maybe you do–one way your kids could raise money to donate to Australia is to sell original artwork. Here is a list from the New York Times about organizations accepting donations for this. Did you see the story about the 6-year-old boy from Massachusetts who raised over $100,000 for Australia by selling clay koalas?!

This can fall under “crafting” as well: I’ve seen a lot of people auctioning off crocheted koalas, for example. So if you want still want to use your crafting prowess to help Australian recovery, there are still many ways to do so. Just think outside the box!

3. Cake Auction or Cookie Sales

In December 2019, TulsaKids published an article about Noah Handsel, a 6-year-old who auctioned off a homemade cake to help raise money for Compassionate Animal Rescue Efforts. This auction was hosted on CARE’s Facebook page, but you could always host an auction on your own Facebook page. Or, talk with your child about what their favorite recipes are to make, and work together to take orders for cookies, cupcakes, etc. I’d advise sticking to something simple yet delicious, like Chocolate Chip Cookies or No-Bakes because overcomplicated baked goods may end up costing you more money than you anticipated. (Note: Make sure to talk with your child about supply/time costs before setting a price and taking orders!)

4. Housecleaning

Mowing lawns is a classic way for older kids to make money, but in the middle of winter, that may not be a lucrative effort. However, you could work with your kids to raise money by cleaning houses or doing odd jobs for friends and family. Think about how much you would charge per hour or per job, and how much time you are able to spend. Obviously, we are in the middle of a new semester, so don’t over-schedule and regret it later!

Bat Wraps Tutorial

Notes: I bought fabric and stuffing from Joann’s because I didn’t want to spend time tracking down fabric at thrift stores. But several of the animal rescue craft tutorials I’ve seen recommend using thrifted fabric and stuffing from old pillows. Just make sure the fabric doesn’t have holes or thin spots. Anyway, I feel like a total hypocrite for buying new fabric rather than recycling. But…it’s really fun to pick out cute fabric?!

Supplies Needed: 

  • Cotton Flannelette (basically, fuzzy cotton. The woman who cut my fabric at Joann’s didn’t know what “flannelette” was, but that’s what the tutorial called for. I’m pretty sure I found the right stuff. Also, I just ordered 1/2 yard of four types of fabric. Go ahead and get at least 3/4 yard each because my fabric wasn’t quite long enough. But speaking of that, I’m guessing that this size of wrap is for a larger bat. If you’re going to be donating closer to home, check with your local bat rescue to make sure you make the correct size.)
  • Thread
  • Stuffing

Step 1: 

Cut your fabric into a rectangle that is 25 cm across by 120 cm long.

Apparently, a rectangle that is about as wide as and a little longer than Joss, haha

Step 2: 

Fold the fabric in half, outsides together, and sew around the perimeter, leaving a 10 cm gap at the top of one side. This gap should be towards the folded end of the cloth.

Joss demonstrating where the gap should be

Step 3. 

Pull the fabric through the 10 cm gap so that the right sides are on the outside. Make sure to get your corners as squared off as possible, using scissors to gently poke out any reluctant corner fabric. Once this has been done, sew across the width of the fabric at the base of the 10 cm gap.

Step 4. 

Stuff the gap area, creating a pillow at the top of the wrap. The end result should be firm, but still a little squishy.

Thank you, Joss!

Once done, hand-sew the open edge shut.

Um…look at that beautiful stitching?

Step 5: 

Finally, beginning and ending at the base of the pillow, sew along the perimeter of the wrap. This just makes the wrap a little sturdier and gives it a more finished look.

Ta-da! Your wraps are ready to give comfort to a sweet little bat!

Basically, you’re just sewing a long rectangle with a pillow at one side. As you can see, these could also be a fun sewing project if you just want to make a little bed for a favorite lovey.

Have your kids raised funds or collected supplies either to help Australia or another organization? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Categories: Spaghetti on the Wall