Over 10 years ago, I got aboard the crafting for charity bandwagon. And nothing pleases me more than to know that the trend is growing stronger. My personal inclination is to make things for charities in the United States, for no matter what the need is Internationally, there are hungry, homeless children in this country that need our love and support. But of course, just that fact that charitable creations are on your radar is a plus, and you can just ignore me if you are interested in a multi-national approach. 😉
You don’t have to look for a big charity, or a national organization to find a place to give, either! You can do it in your own backyard, so to speak. Contact local churches, food closets, social services and women’s shelters. Most can give you a list of what they need (for instance, blankets, socks, hats & mittens, shawls, layettes etc.) and then you can fine-tune their needs to your talents and interests.
Stumped for ideas? Here are some of my favorite charities that are online:
Project Linus Their mission, should you chose to accept it, is to give children from birth to age 18 with a blanket to call their own. Begun in 1995, they have donated more than THREE million blankets to children in need. The site has patterns, lists of chapters you can join (you don’t need to join a chapter, but donations should be made through a chapter – or if no chapter exists locally, you can mail your handmade blankets in…or consider starting a chapter in your area; I did, and it was a joyful several years that I worked on it!) Be sure to start with the FAQ’s when you go to the site for the first time.
Craft Hope This is a somewhat new organization that started with a dynamite idea – sewing, knitting, crocheting and all manner of crafting can be donated to inspire hope in others. Jade Sims is the founder of the group, and her book, Craft Hope, is delightful. Many of the ideas and patterns are available online as well, though. There are 32 projects in the book, and a dozen or so online. Their methodology is by project. You sign up for the current project, if you are interested, and follow the guidelines and deadlines for that project. The current project is # 14 – the making of Christmas stockings for families severely impacted by tornadoes in this country, some 12,000 of them. You can find out more about this project on the page Christmas in Dixie.
A new book is coming out in late September, which I will review on this site as soon as I get my copy. Called Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In, it looks to be a wonderful collection of ideas and patterns. Look it up on your favorite online bookstore, but don’t buy it until you see my review!
There are some interesting blogs around the ‘net that seem to be focusing on creativity and ideas for charitable crafting. I encourage you to sign up for some, check them out. You can always drop your subscription if it isn’t what you are looking for.
For example: Betsy Greer has a far-reaching blog, discussing craftivism worldwide, which can be found at Craft+Activism=Craftivism Betsy has written a book as well, Knitting for Good, which you can find out about on her blog.
Etsy has some teams and communities, such as that are focused on charitable gifting of handmade items, check that out and see what you think. You may have to prowl around to find others, since things change daily there.
Another aspect of crafting for charity is fundraisers. Churches and non-profits often have craft fairs and special events where they sell homemade crafts to raise money for specific projects. Your best bet, if this is where your interest lies, is to contact local churches, clubs (e.g. Soroptimists or Lions clubs…) and local organizations advertising in the paper.
Last but not least, check online bulletin boards. There’s a good one at Craftster (Crafting for Good and Not Evil) which has some ideas, patterns, charities etc. on their community bulletin board. I am not 100% certain, but you may have to register before posting, although I think you can read the posts anonymously.
I did a review of Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion here on the site recently – look on the right-hand sidebar for a link to that posting.
Hope this gave you some good ideas, and will help fuel your interest and excitement in creating for charity. Craftivism is a new word, but it’s meaning is timeless!