Whenever someone asks me what’s so great about rainbow, or gatherings, I find it hard to explain. There are a million reasons, but they vary for each person, and even if I could, I doubt people would believe me. When someone hears that there’s free meals, no ticket price, and free medical help, they start to look at me a little incredulously, like I must have gotten hit over the head or something. It’s hard to explain rainbow when you live in Babylon.
For me, one of the most basic principles of rainbow gatherings is that what you get out of it is directly correlated to what you put in. When they hear what’s involved, they almost ask how I can call working fun; but they never seem to grasp that working with family, to create this gathering together, is nothing akin to the job you keep in Babylon to pay your bills.
There is nothing more inherently beautiful, then waking up in the misty, cool air of morning, stepping out from your tent under the first streaks of light in the sky, and witnessing a thousand family members bustling about in an unchoreographed waltz, as they busy themselves preparing breakfast, getting organized, and working things out.
There is nothing more fulfilling than being interrupted, just as you were ready to sit down with a cup of coffee, still hazy from sleep, to go help out someplace where you’re needed. Nothing as satisfying as begrudgingly trudging over to where you are called, and working silently and swiftly with family, side by side, in silence, making it all come together. Nothing more blissful than having that silence slowly evolve into joking, laughing, teasing, singing, conversing, and making you forget you really didn’t feel like doing it when they asked~ nothing as worthwhile as having someone thank you for getting them fed.
It must be impossible to imagine, if you have never been to a gathering, how amazing it is to see physicians, RN’s, paramedics, midwives, doulas, herbalists, shamanic healers, acupuncturists and the like, all working together, to help keep family healthy. Probably even harder yet to think digging the perfect shitter could actually get you stoned on life, lol.
While gatherings are often synonymous with the word free, nothing could be farther from the truth. That food, those solar ovens, those shitters, those recycling centers and that calm tent; kiddie village, the council and the information center, and everything else that makes up the dancers in this beautiful, crazy, incredible ballet are comprised of family willing to work and share knowledge and skills; it exists only b/c of donations of food and money and materials and labour.
I suppose for some, it does seem crazy~ for them, they’d much rather drop $100 a person to pay their way in to a three day music festival where all the work is done for them. But there is one crucial element missing from that; and it’s family. Rainbow is like a string of paper dolls cut out, all attached, arm to arm; and what happens to one affects all the others.
Since the site's inception, I've seen sporadic posts about family in need; of shelter, rides, meals, friendship. Our family does not disappear when we leave the gatherings; and neither should it’s principles, which is why I created this group; to give a place to seek and offer help. It was actually inspired by Lonnie, who approached me about a way to help another member of our family right now; one who has given back to family ten times what he needs.. I know that many, and most likely, most, of us, are struggling to make ends meet~ but help doesn’t have to be just fiscally; you never know what you may have extra of that another member needs: food, shelter, appliances, clothing, skills or trades, and so on.
My hope is that everyone will join this group, and use to both ask, and offer. If your family is on hard times, and you need help, then please start a discussion thread, and explain what your situation is, and what exactly you need. Anyone who has something to offer, even if it's not currently needed, please post a thread about that as well~ and through this, we can create a network of branches, reaching out to one another from group Giving Tree.
Here are the basics:
1) Please only post a request for help/SOS if you are truly are in dire need. Most family have limited resources, but will go out of their way to help you~ please don't take advantage of that.
2) This group is strictly for individual basis~ we cannot accept donations for regional gatherings on it's behalf. If you have donations for a gathering, and you're not sure where to send it, you can post here and ask, and i'm sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction, but this group has no affiliation with actual gathering donations.
3) It is up to the individual posting to receive/send donations; i cannot intercept/hold/deliver them for you as a group. If you are requesting financial donations, you should have a paypal account or mailing address to give to anyone able to help.
4) If someone answers your SOS and can provide you with goods you need, it is your responsibility to arrange it's receipt. If you in the position to do so, offer to pay for postage if the donor is sending something via postal mail; unless the donor states they will cover it.
5) If someone helps you with your SOS, then when you are back on your feet, please Pay it forward. A giving tree, like any tree, only can sustain it's self and continue to grow if it is nourished. A cherry tree will not continue to flower if it is constantly harvested for it's nourishing fruit, but never given back nourishment to grow more.
6) Money is not the only way to help. If you have an SOS that can be answered with goods or money, then please say so. Many of us who don't have much money DO have an extra something- be it clothing, food, skilled trade, etc.
7) Please do not post multiple times for the same thing. If you have an SOS, post it once; and if you have something to offer, post it once. Multiple postings clutter up the board, and people will not peruse them if they feel they're just reading the same thing over and over. If you are in need of multiple things, then list them in the same post; don't make an individual post for each item.
8) Please check the threads before asking for something~ if you need a couch, and someone already has a donation couch posted, reach out~ don't expect folks to look for you to help- they've made a gesture already, respond to it, be proactive. If there's no posts for what you need, THEN post your SOS.
9) Once your SOS has been answered, or your donation accepted, please delete your original post.
10) Keep your SOS simple: explain your situation briefly, then list what it is you're in need of~ please don't post a ten page story. Everyone posting an SOS is on hard times, no one doubts that, so try to keep it clear, to the point, and easy for people to read. You will always find someone here who will lend an ear or a shoulder if you need to talk, all you have to do is reach out; but that doesn't belong in the posts.
1) What qualifies as an SOS?
Anyone in dire need of goods, financial assistance, shelter, etc. THIS IS NOT FOR RIDE SHARES OR TEMPORARY STAYS WHILE TRAVELING!!! If you are looking for/have a ride to the gathering, please post in the rideshare section of the forums. Same goes for those looking for a cheap place to stay on their way to a gathering, between gatherings, etc.~ that goes in the forums too. This is strictly for people who are in dire of need of temporary housing or assistance.
2) What kind of things can I ask for/Offer?
Anything you need, cannot live without~
*a place to stay,
*bicyles for getting to and from work,
*sundries (sundries= soaps, lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, etc),
*household goods (cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, brroms, mops, etc);
*help with utilities, rent or deposits;
*skilled help (mechanic help, home repair help,plumbing help, building help, carpentry, medical help, midwifery, doulas)~
( if you are need of prescription medication, please state what medicine, or if you prefer, state that you will specify it to anyone who asks, in private: while in some instances, money may be the only option to help pay for the medicine, there are thousands of programs out there that help low income families get free medication. I personally have a massive list of all the major drug companies, and the individual medicines they will give you free if you apply with them. If you are looking for medical advice, specify what you need~ acupuncture, herbalist, midwife, etc.)
*Legal Aid, transcription, translation, dictation~ if you need help filling out documents, paperwork, etc
****In regards to those posting OFFERS: while those asking for help should only ask for things they are in dire need of to survive, those who have donations to offer MAY post things that don't fall into that category: for example, if you're moving, and you've got boxes of books, or toys, or something like that, then you may post it- just put it under the "free stuff" section, not under the SOS section.
Basically, the list is endless~ anything you can offer, anything you need.
3)How do I know if the Person Really Needs this?
Technically, you can't. This group will only work if the people using it are honest, and hopefully, it will be. Trust your instinct too- obviously if someone says they need cash to get a new refrigerator, and you offer to give them one you have, but they refuse it and make exuses for why they need cash instead, they're probably not being honest. I'm really wary of putting the option to ask for cash/offer it on here, b/c i am worried of people being taken advantage of; but on the other hand, I know there are some instances where that is what they need- but if you're still not certain, see what you can do to set yourself at ease- if the person says they need gas, send them a gift card only good for gas; if they need help with utilities, tell them you want to make payment to the utility company directly.
If, for example, someone has an SOS for $, and they say they need it for baby clothes, and you offer to send them clothes instead, and they refuse, then please contact me, and I will look into it and if the person is indeed abusing the system, they will be banned. I really have high hopes we won't be confronted with that kind of situation; but as the site's membership grows, and more family find us, it also becomes a good place for scam artists to stalk prey~ so please be honest, use the group honestly, and report any scam like behavior.
4) How often can I post?
At this time, I'm not going to put a limit on that. If it becomes an issue, we can revisit the topic then, but for the time being, just use your head~ if your SOS gets answered, try to post an offer- even if you can't fiscally help, you probably have a skill to offer~ or even something simple you can put in the "free stuff" section. If you're posting an SOS every week, for a year- well, obviously it's time to take a look at your situation, and see what you can do to help yourself on the long term.
5) I have something to offer, but i don't really know if it fits
If you're not positive, just drop me an email and ask- but odds are, it's fine. The only things that don't belong here are donations of shrroms, weed, lsd, etc, lol~ though i'm sure someone would appreciate the gesture, it's probably not the best forum for that.
6) Can I post an SOS/Offer of work?
Yes and no. When I revamp the site over the winter, i plan on putting a section on the site for that kind of thing; but for the time being, I’m going to put a thread section in this group for it. BUT~ only for real jobs- DO NOT post about the great job you have assembling CD cases from home; stuffing envelopes from home, selling diet pills from home, working for google, etc. If the "job" requires a financial investment, then it's not a job, and it doesn't belong here- that's spam, and you will be banned for it. Ditto for artisans~ this is not a forum for you to post about your clothing, homewares, crafts, etc for sale. It's for people who have a legit business, and are looking to hire someone, or for people to post their skills, and say they're looking for work.
7) But that’s not fair! I need to get people to buy my stuff to pay my bills!
On some levels, yes, having someone buy something from you does help if you’re broke or in need- but this is not a place to get free advertising. I will have another feature in the revamp layout for that kind of thing, but at the moment, it’s not here. In order to keep this group in the realm of actual help/SOS needed, it’s too hard to determine who’s using it for what reason. You may, however, if you need something, post the SOS and offer something you made as a thank you.
8)Can i post an offer/donation for spiritual healing?
Yes and no. This group is intended for people who need help; not to convert the masses. If someone’s post moves you, and all you have to offer is prayer, then send them an email, if you must~ though it’s my understanding that it’s not necessary to tell someone that you’re praying for them, in order for the prayer to work. If someone specifically asks for spiritual help, then yes, you may offer~ but if someone needs a couch, please don’t email them to say they just need Buddha, yaweh, ra, jesus, etc . If you want to share your faith, and offer guidance, write a blog about it or even start a group; but unless it’s solicited here, please leave it to the other areas.
9) I have a (washer/dryer/couch/boxes of clothes/etc) to donate, but I'm moving and can't take it with me- can you store it until someone needs it?
I personally, cannot. I have a very, very small home- so unless it's something that doesn't take up much space, i'm unable to. If you are in this situation, I would suggest posting it, and stating in the post that if the item is not taken by _____ date, you will have to take it to the curb- and maybe a family member with the resources to store it will offer to hang on to it until then.