Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Mail Call.....


Good morning, 
 

An email I received this morning from one of our lovely long term contributors prompted me to look at the issue of how we handle out incoming mail.  We receive quite a lot of mail as you can imagine. I collect the mail a couple of times a week and thankfully Bridget often collects it on sewing days and brings it with her.

In most cases we wait til a sewing day to open the mail and sort it. That is easier for me because I then have helpers to hold up the laundry bags, quilt tops, blocks etc so that photos can be taken of everything that comes in in the hope that I can identify who made what in the coming months when laundry bags or quilts are sent out.  I could not possibly do this on my own. 


Often times I ask someone to write a thank you letter to the sender to let them know that their parcel has arrived but this is not always feasible given the volume of mail we receive.   Even though we have been going for more than six years I still do the vast majority of the administration myself and there are only so many hours in the day. 

If there are any volunteers out there who would like to come to my home on a regular basis to help with the admin that would be great but so far we have not found anyone keen enough to commit to doing this regularly. 


In the mean time I recognise that some of you would like to know your parcels have arrived safe and sound with me and would also like to know when your quilts and/or bags have been sent off. So here is my suggestion.  Hopefully this will make it easier for me to keep up and reassuring for you to know that your parcel has arrived safely at HQ AHQ.  

If you would like to know that your parcel has arrived safe and sound please include a Stamped Self Addressed Postcard.   Stamped is important as all postage comes out of the donated funds and those are limited.   With each postcard costing $1 it adds up quickly.  Self addressed is important as that saves me the need to search for your address. You might prefer an email but that is something I would have to do and I don't always have time. If we have postcards then I should be able to delegate the responsibility of writing you a quick postcard confirming receipt of your parcel to someone else. 


Now to what happens to your items once they get here.   Laundry bags are stockpiled until I have enough to send them off or pass them on. This year we have given laundry bags to HMAS Farncomb, HMAS Rankin, HMAS Success, HMAS Sirius and I am currently stock-piling more for HMAS Success and HMAS Canberra.   If you put a letter inside your laundry bag when you send it to me then that will stay with the bag and will go to the recipient.  You may or may not hear back from your eventual recipient but I am sure you understand with the numbers I am dealing with, that it is just too hard for me to tell everyone where their bags are going to and when.  I hope you understand.

As far as quilt and quilt tops are concerned, we try really hard to keep track of them. We photograph every quilt/top that arrives. We then print the photo and write the name of the maker (and when/if appropriate the quilter) on the photo and file the two together. When one is used the photo is referred to when I write the covering letter and then the name of the maker/s is recorded in my spreadsheet against the name of the recipient.   I just do not have the capacity to let the quilter know that the quilt is being sent off I am afraid. 

As as example, I currently have over 40 quilts sitting in boxes on my lounge (lucky my boys have moved out) to go to a specific group and I need to write a covering letter for each one before they go. In that covering letter is the name of the person who made the quilt.  If I receive any feedback I always try to pass it on to the quilter when I have time. 

Please understand that I regularly work day and night to keep up with the admin and I really cannot add in any more hours.   We love the "random" quilts and laundry bags that come here and they all find good homes but the work involved in letting you know where they go to is beyond what I can manage in spite of the best will in the world.   Hopefully if you receive a postcard from one of us, letting you know your quilt/top/bags have arrived that will reassure you that your hard work is appreciated. 

This is an issue that has concerned me for sometime but hopefully the postcard system will improve our communication for the future. 

As always thank you so much for your support.  We really could not do what we do without you. The forty or so people that are about to receive quilts from my sofa would otherwise miss out so you really are making a difference. 

Till next time... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx

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