Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Major: Combined Honours in Music + Environment, Sustainability & Society
As the weather turns colder, Rachael Delano is already thinking ahead to the ways that she will give back through Kind Krafts, a non-profit organization she created with the intention of inspiring community engagement.
Last year, the group made food for Out of the Cold Homeless Shelter, which opens every year in December.
“We made 30-40 sandwiches every week using local, sustainable plant-based foods,” she says. “We knew that we were giving nourishing food, and we’re hoping to do that again.”
Delano founded Kind Krafts with the intention of giving crafting a more meaningful purpose.
“I like to knit, make bracelets, and wrap crystals for jewelry,” she says. “I also like to draw—but I’m not very good at it. There is this stigma where if you call yourself an artist, then people expect a certain quality of work. Whereas with Kind Krafts, anyone can come and do the crafts. It’s accessible to everyone at all skill levels.”
Kind Krafts is volunteer based, and Delano emphasizes the backbone of the organization lies within the people who come out to help, and the seven board members who work tirelessly creating the ‘krafts’ and planning events.
“There is no way that I would be able to do all of this without our board,” she says. “We all work really hard together to make things happen the way that they do. I’m so proud of them, and happy that they’re in my life.”
The organization frequently tables in the Student Union Building and sells cards, bracelets, jewellery, knitted headbands and toques, amongst other items. The proceeds are donated to their “cause of the moment,” which changes regularly.
“The idea came from my experience working for Lush Cosmetics,” says Delano. “They have a ‘charity pot’ and always change their partners. We decided to change our focus every season. When we’re tabling, we’ll donate 100% of our profits to an organization and then partner with them to do workshops and events.”
Recently, environmental and sustainability awareness was featured as their cause. Kind Krafts worked with the Ecology Action Centre in support of resistance to the Alton Gas project. The organization attended protests and sold bracelets through the Ecology Action Centre, donating the proceeds to some of the Sipekne’katik Millbrook First Nations communities in and around the Shubenacadie area so that they could raise enough money to buy a boat.
“It’s important to us that we are able to see the change that we are making—most of the time we try to make tangible change, do workshops and actually be present at events.”
Kind Krafts has an ongoing partnership with the Community Justice Society, providing weekly art workshops for youth at risk.
“It’s a great way for them to get their community hours, and it’s a great way for us to engage in the community and try to help marginalized populations,” she says. “They learn the skills and are able to take those home and use them. Sometimes they’re practical life skills, and sometimes it’s a form of bonding—of art wellness.”
Delano stresses the importance of just going for it when it comes to community engagement initiatives such as Kind Krafts.
“For anyone thinking about doing something like this—just do it. ‘Think global, act local. Think large, act small.’ You can make a lot of change with a small amount of people, and that’s something that I’ve learned along the way.”