Friday, June 10, 2011

Elephants Remember Jopin - Knitting Elepephants to Raise Money for Tornado Victims in Joplin, MO

Elephants Remember Joplin started because Cee Cee wanting to help the tornado victims in Joplin,MO.  Her mother was kind enough to send me the back story about her daughter wanting to help and learning that even one person can make a difference.

“I have to DO something” was the first thing my daughter said after we heard about the tornado in Joplin. She was curled up in a chair talking to me while I worked. I asked her what she wanted to do.  She said that she wanted to knit toys for the children that had lost their homes…We had seen the pictures on the computer, I had heard a few of the stories…knitting toys was a nice gesture but the people of Joplin needed more than that.

We talked about fundraisers and a read-a-thon my brother had done when he was five…this brought to mind many different options of how we could help monetarily also.   In the end we had the idea to knit toys for the children of Joplin - A sort of elephant-a-thon! She could knit elephants and people from around the world could sponsor her efforts and donate the money directly to the Red Cross. It was perfect. Except that my daughter is 8 and knitting one elephant at any given time could take anywhere from two or three weeks. Every day for almost a week prior to beginning we talked about it…
”You’re going to get tired’ I would tell her…
"I will just keep knitting!’ she’d say…
”What are you going to do when you are busy?” I’d ask.
She’d just shrug and say “I will take it with me. I can do this.”
Finally she looked at me and said resolutely: “I want to do hard things.”

We agreed we would start on Memorial Day and knit for approximately two weeks. And we have!  We have created a FaceBook page (link) so that anyone interested in helping can track her progress, see the finished elephants and be inspired to help others as selflessly as this 8 year old.  Simply friending the page has sent waves of joy and sparks of hope through her. People care! They want to help out!

She knits each elephant, and when complete, I put safety eyes on, stuff and sew them up for her. I help her when she gets in a tangle and sometimes I pick up and do a row when she gets in a pickle.
Recently she had two rows to finish to complete her fifth elephant and, exhausted, fell asleep knitting. After prying the needles from her sleeping hands, I completed the last two rows and  finished  the  elephant so that when she got up in the morning there was a completed one waiting for her to add to her ‘helping herd’.
Cascade Yarn has been her yarn of choice because it is not splitty and it holds up well to the hardship of a toy and just generally makes a nice elephant. I frequently use Cascade so that when she went digging for yarn in my basket, all of her first choices were for Cascade. We really enjoy our knitting time together and yes, it’s a little tough at times…but we are humbled and amazed by the people cheering her on.
 Anyone wanting to donate to her efforts to help the victims of Joplin, Missouri can simply donate to the Red Cross, earmarked for Joplin, and drop us a note that they have done so on our Facebook page.  The money goes directly to the ones need it the most.  And do stop by and like the page.  You'll get updates on her progress, candid photos of her working, photos of her completed elephants and you will help a young girl to know that one person, no matter how small, can indeed make a difference.


  1. I met this remarkable young lady at our LYS as she was picking out more Cascade Yarn for her elephants. I asked her what she was going to knit and she told me about her Elephant-a-thon. She is an absolute delight to talk to, and I was amazed and humbled by her determination to make a difference and help those in need.

  2. This is a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it. I will go look at her Facebook page right now.