Library helps animals affected by oil spill

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2010

With thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the gulf daily, citizens of Alabama often feel helpless when thinking about aiding the southern part of our state.

The North Shelby Library partnered with the philanthropic organization Craft Hope to host a crocheting class to create towels to clean oil-soaked animals in the gulf on July 13.

“We’re a part of the community,” said library director Katie Guerin. “That doesn’t just mean being part of Birmingham but also our state and country.”

Michelle Johnson taught the class, which instructed participants how to crochet on a loom.

“Everyone wants to help and give, but they don’t always know how or don’t have the money,” said Jade Sims, founder and executive director of Craft Hope. “But they can give their time.”

Founded in January 2009, Craft Hope has donated money and useful crafts to victims of both natural and man-made disasters as well as poverty-stricken areas. Last year, the organization collected more than 400 hand-made dolls and blankets for orphanages in Nicaragua.

“I feel so blessed to have this outlet,” Sims said.

Participants in the class learned basic crocheting technique involving winding colorful yarn around pegs on a round loom.

“It’s a really easy way to feel like you’re doing something to help,” said Lori Skinner, wrapping a piece of yarn around a peg.

The class was open to people of all ages, and everyone was eager to work toward this important cause.

“Me and my mom went to Port St. Joe and saw sea turtles putting their eggs on the beach,” said Scout Reed, 10. “I want to help them.”

The library is also taking donations of store-bought towels and wash cloths until the end of August.

“Each towel can only be used one time, so they have a huge need for them,” Guerin said.

“Hopefully we can help in some small way with this tragedy that doesn’t seem to end.”

For more information about Craft Hope, or to find out how to donate, visit