21 January 2010

Hearts for Haiti

I applaud, truly applaud, those few individuals who are able to spring into action at the drop of a hat. Spurred on by a disaster in a far-away place, horrifed by the images that they see unfold on their TV's, they quickly formulate an idea to offer help and relief. More than that, they take that idea, they put it into action, and they make it work.

Below is an example of such a thing.

Artists are known for having small bank accounts these days yet their hearts are anything but. After the disaster in Haiti, one artist, Victoria van der Laan of Albany, NY, the artist behind Ex Libris Handmade (www.exlibrishandmade.etsy.com) posted a simple request on the forums at Etsy,

“I would love to see and potentially help to organize an Etsy shop established to fundraise for relief efforts in Haiti. Though I wasn't involved with this I understand a similar shop was started to help during the Australian bushfires last year. Does anyone know how this was done or have any suggestions on how it may work?”

Within minutes, dozens of fellow artists replied, offering their time, knowledge, and wares. This was January 13th. Heartsforhaiti.etsy.com was open for business by midnight on January 15th . With more than 200 artists contributing, they have raised over $1000 in less than 24 hours and contributors from all over the world are working around the clock to create items and get them listed in the online store.

Most of us do not even know each others names; we simply refer to each other by our shop names. To follow this story from its inception read the forum posts at http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6404152&page=1. The forum thread is a true illustration of the hearts and minds of the artists who have come together to aid the recovery effort in Haiti.

"The hearts of many in the Etsy community go out to the victims of the earthquake. Hopefully each of us, in our small and humble way, can help to alleviate some suffering." -Jesse (Etsy Admin. Announcement)

100% of the proceeds from items sold (excluding PayPal and Esty fees) will be donated to Doctors without Borders. Artists are paying the shipping costs themselves so buyers will not have to pay shipping. Plans are to keep the shop open for at least one month or until donations and volunteers are no longer available.

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