By Meg Crane

When I was a little girl, I often thought about people cold on the streets and animals suffering in need of care, but I felt I had no power to change anything.

As a teenager, I thought about those things and so many more situations that broke my heart and made me cry. Without any money, with full time work and school, I could not donate anything or volunteer much. I felt helpless.

In the last few years, I’ve realized that I just wasn’t thinking creatively. As someone who has an abundance of crafting supplies and a bit of free time, I’m actually able to do a lot to change my world. And so can you.

Cockroach has donated dozens of toys made from scraps of fabric to animal rescues and shelters in Manitoba. The shelters sell them to raise money to care for the animals, or give them to the animals in their care. This cost me nothing and didn’t take up much of my time, but it helped the rescues and got people thinking about how they need their support. Lots of people, including children, had fun helping with this.

Earlier this year, Cockroach collected heart-shaped bookmarks to donate to Books with no Bounds, a non-profit that sends books to children in northern communities. The materials cost about $20 and made hundreds of bookmarks.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like these small actions do a lot, but they really do.

I bet a lot of the students in schools that helped us make valentines for women’s shelters last year didn’t know they could do something to show their support to people living in a difficult situation. I bet some of them never thought about domestic abuse as being an issue and now it’s something they’ll think about. Maybe it’ll stop some of them from getting into this situation.

After hearing about the project, one woman who had left an abusive relationship, lived in a shelter and then gotten remarried and gone on to have a very happy life, sent Cockroach a letter to encourage people in shelters receiving valentines. As an ex-shelter user, she thought the project was worth her time to support. To me, that says something about how much a crafted donation can mean.

If there’s something you care about, there’s probably something you can do about it, even if you don’t have much time or money. You could even just email me at and suggest that Cockroach run a project for a cause you think is worthwhile.

Sometimes it’s the littlest actions that can make the biggest difference.

Meg Crane is the founder of Cockroach. Follow her on Twitter.