From the eye of the storm

Hey friends of Loyal,
Sarah, one of the founders here. It feels surreal to be writing to you, from the eye of this COVID storm in India. I returned to Kolkata just two months back with my husband Paul and kids Malachi and Mikayla. COVID was little more than a smoldering ash heap then. Now it rages like a bush fire in the Australian outback, with no sign of abating. The news is heartbreaking with many cities run out of hospital beds and oxygen. If you are the sort who prays on occasion, please say a quick one for India.
The last thing you need from me is more bad news. So, here’s some good news from the ground in India. My family and I are safe and well. We are hunkered down in the peace of our apartment, thankful for our many privileges (like enough personal space to social distance and supermarket delivery services) that make us safe right now. We are working from home and are in daily contact with our staff. All The Loyal Workshop staff are currently safe and well. We have decided to close the workshop for their ongoing safety. While the artisans were disappointed to go home, they were elated to take some leather stitching work home with them. They just can’t get enough of crafting beautiful leather goods.
This time last year, many of you were running or walking 5km to raise funds for the first wave of Loyal COVID-19 Relief in Kolkata. Together we raised a whopping NZ $31,000. So far, we have spent $16,400 on food and mask distribution, COVID-19 testing and medical support.
Thankfully, we still have $14,700 to spend on relief for this subsequent wave. We are currently distributing 500 hygiene packs in the Bow Bazar Red Light Area. These packs contain items that are currently sold out on the shelves, face masks, hand sanitizer and hand wash. Our staff are checking in with their neighbours and asking, ‘What do you need right now?’ We are sitting in our homes, watching this all unfold. We are breathing deep and doing lots of self-care. We are getting ready to roll up our sleeves to support our neighbours, where possible. Thanks for your amazing support. It helps us get through the rough days. We couldn’t do it without you, our amazing loyal tribe.
With much aroha (love),