Friday, August 31, 2012

Knitting for Charity


As a type-A overachieving, slightly ADD WAHM, I’m always looking for more err, stuff, to pile onto my To Do list. I now have an oh so small opening in my schedule, so I’ve been scanning the electronic horizon for something to fill up my time.  And as I’ve been in a particularly CIVIC mood lately, I’m thinking I’d like to volunteer.

Ideally, I want to find a way to volunteer that intersects with one of my interests, namely, knitting.  I love to knit but I’m running out of home projects and none of my family members want any more scarves or socks.  After much digging, I realize that finding an active knitting charity doing something I can relate to is not so easy.  I don’t want to affiliate with an overtly religious effort, would prefer to help my local community or, failing that, support either active or retired servicemen, children OR the homeless.

This limits my list to the following:

Afghans for Afghans: This is a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.  They just completed a project; click on sign-up at the bottom of the homepage to join their group and to be notified when the next project starts. Based in San Francisco.

Christmas at Sea:  Since 1898, during the Spanish American War, volunteers of the Seamen’s Church Institute have knitted, collected, packed, and distributed gifts to mariners who are miles away from home during the holidays.  You must use one of their patterns but they have a good range of options.  Loosely affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

Knit your Bit:  This charity is affiliated with the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and donates knitted scarves to military veterans in VA centers. Now in its seventh year, this organization has donated more than 18,000 scarves to veterans. While you don’t need to use one of their patterns, they do have several nice ones on the website.

Knitting Pals by the Bay:  This group knits chemo caps for children, teens and adults who have cancer. More than 43,350 caps have been donated since 2002.  Based in the Bay Area, they donate to scores of local hospitals and Cancer support groups.

Project Linus:  Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need.  The charity began in late 1995 and has grown very quickly, with "blanketeers" having donated more than 1.6 million blankets to children who could use a little security. You must donate blankets via your local chapter but chances are good that there's a location near you.

The Ships Project: The Ships Project sends homemade hats, slippers, etc. to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed across the world.  You need to join their Yahoo group in order to receive participation and donation instructions. 

Stitches from the Heart:  Founded in 1997, the organization distributes knitted items to preemies.  To date, they've donated 220,000 items to preemies at more than 432 facilities.  They provide very simple instructions for preemie items so you can use any patterns you like, as long as they fit the preemie measurements they provide on the website.  Based in San Diego.

If none of these inspire you to pick up your needles, you can search for a charity by area of interest or location using the Charity Connection Registry on the Lion Brand Yarn website.

Please let me know if you have any other charities to share.  As mentioned above, I’m looking for those charities that are NOT overtly religiously affiliated and, preferably provide to soldiers, veterans, the homeless or children in need.