Using Your Crafty Powers for Goodcomments (5) September 22nd, 2008
As a crafter, you possess an important power: the power to use your creative skills to bring comfort to people in need. There are so many charity crafting projects you can participate in on a local, national, and even global level.
Let's start locally. Check with your city's volunteer centers to find out where there might be a need for handmade items in your community. A local homeless shelter might be in need of warm knitted hats. A children's hospital might welcome a donation of handmade soft toys. Or there might be a senior-care center that would appreciate a gift of your time to bring craft projects to its residents. You can use your local phone directory to find ways to contribute in your city, or try these websites: SmartVolunteer, VolunteerMatch, or 1-800-Volunteer.
On a national level, there are lots of charity crafting projects being organized on the web:
• ChemoCaps seeks donations of soft, hand-knit caps for cancer patients.
• Care Wear coordinates volunteers across the United States who sew, knit, and crochet baby items and donate them to hospitals.
• Warm Up America! collects handmade blankets, clothing, and accessories for people facing crisis or receiving medical care.
You can also find a long list of nationwide charity crafting projects at Sewing Charity and another at Wool Works.
If you read craft blogs, you can often find limited-time projects to participate in. A couple of wonderful recent examples were Tricot du Coeur, Softies for Mirabel, and the Barakah Life Handmade Baby Blanket Drive.
On a global level, you can use your crafting skills for good through these projects:
• afghans for Afghans collects hand-knit or crocheted blankets, hats, sweaters, and socks to send to refugees from war-torn Afghanistan.
• The Animals Asia Foundation recently put out a call for hand-knit mittens for bears that have been rescued from China's bear bile farms. The mittens keep the bears' paws warm and protected while they undergo medical treatments after rescue.
This list may seem overwhelming—there seems to be so much need out there for your crafting skills! When you're first exploring the world of crafting for charity, it's wise to start small. Try making one item for one of these projects. If you find that you enjoy the process of making things for charity, then you can take on more. But be careful! It's so easy to overcommit.
Many charity crafting projects operate on deadlines, meaning that if you volunteer to help, you'll be expected to turn in your handmade donation by a specific date so that it can be distributed to someone in need. When you agree to participate in a charity effort, make sure you have plenty of available time in your schedule for the project.
Another important point is that when you decide to participate in a charity project, be sure to read all of the project guidelines thoroughly. Some projects require specific materials. Some require items to be made in specific sizes. Be sure that your donations are something the project can use.
Keep in mind, too, that if you're too busy to craft for any of these projects, you can always make a cash donation—any of these charity crafting efforts would be grateful for your support.