Want to knit for charity in your own community? Here are some suggestions
Readers often tell me that they prefer to direct their charity knitting efforts locally. I can see and understand many reasons for this. We are best able to see the needs in our own community, and when we knit for charity for that community, we may feel as if we can most directly see the results of our efforts. Also, shipping our knitted projects to other parts of the country — or other parts of the world! — can be expensive. When we can drive (or even walk!) to a drop-off location in our area, it’s much more economical. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Charity begins at home.”
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t knit for needs outside our community. Not at all! Charity knitting is a great way to help people in other parts of the country and even the world. But when we see a need close to home, and we want to fill it, charity knitting is a great way to do that, too.
I often receive inquiries from readers who want to know if there are any charity knitting opportunities in their hometown. While there are certainly many wonderful knitting charities with a local focus all over the world, sometimes all you really need to do is go to service agencies in your town and see what they might need or want.
The following is a list of some popular knitting projects and where you might consider donating them.
Charity Knitting Projects That You Can Offer Close to Home
Stuffed toys: Make stuffed toys such as teddy bears, monkeys, and dolls, and offer them to places such as fire houses, hospitals, homeless and domestic violence shelters, social service departments, and police departments. Such toys can be genuine godsends for children in traumatic situations, such as long-term illnesses, fires, and cases of abuse and neglect.
Hats and scarves: I have yet to hear of a homeless shelter that will turn away a box of knitted hats and scarves. Particularly in areas where winters are extremely cold, these are a tremendous help to shelter residents. Domestic violence shelters will often take them, as well. Also, consider contributing to the trend of charitable yarn bombing — hang hats and scarves around town with notes indicating that they can be taken by anyone who needs them.
Mittens and socks: Socks are often overlooked as great projects for homeless shelters, yet these are among the most desperately needed item of clothing in the homeless population. Mittens, too, are greatly needed by homeless shelters, particularly in colder climates.
Blankets: Afghans can also be donated to homeless and domestic violence shelters. Lap blankets and baby blankets can be donated to hospitals, where they may be used for babies, especially preemies, and those recovering from amputation surgery.
Chemo caps: Hospitals of all kinds, especially those with cancer centers, will always be glad to accept donated caps for people who have lost their hair from chemotherapy.
Premature baby clothing: Any hospital with a labor and delivery floor will likely be thrilled to accept hats, layette items, and blankets sized to fit preemies.
It’s best to contact these organizations before you begin knitting, to make sure you follow any guidelines they have, and to make sure they actually want and need what you are making. If you’ve already knitted something, you can of course go ahead and call and see if they can take what you’ve made. Many will be happy to accept.
Do you have any other suggestions for charity knitting and places to take those items locally? Let me know, so we can spread the word!