Charitable Crochet, Keep it Local
Crocheting for charity can be extremely rewarding. We all want to do good and it is rewarding to know you can make something that can make another person happy. Being able to support your local community with charitable crochet is an added bonus.
My last post addressed the awesome part of crocheting for organized organizations. The organizations I listed have not only found recipients for the items but actually have people asking for them. They can say with certainty that the donated items (if they are made within the established guidelines) will end up in the hands of the intended recipient. But, what if your funds are limited and you just don’t have the money to pay for shipping? or what if you just want to keep it local?
I often hear of local church groups or civic organizations where they crochet hats for chemo patients or something similar. But when asked where or how they are getting the items to the patients, the response is along the lines of “We bring them to the hospital”. While it is wonderful to crochet for charitable efforts, I learned the hard way that you have to be selective in where you donate your charitable crochet. Delivering items to the hospital does not mean they make it to the patients (read the story here). So, please keep in mind, no matter where you donate your handmade items, my number one suggestion is to contact the business or organization FIRST to see if they WANT and will ACCEPT the items. If you get a yes, push them a little further and ask, do they have more than they currently need and will the items be distributed to the patients/kids/residents/etc. And be sure to ask if they have any guidelines and/or restrictions you need to follow.
Below are a few suggestions on how you can crochet for charity, keep it local AND be sure the donated items are getting to the intended recipients. Again, check FIRST to make sure they want/need and will distribute your handmade items.
- Contact national organizations and ask if they can direct you on how to donate locally. While it may not be possible to donate directly to the recipients as they likely require all donated items to be inspected for quality control, they may be able to direct you to a local drop off location-maybe a guild chapter or yarn shop.
- Check with your local hospitals and oncology centers to see if you can donate hats directly to them. If so, what guidelines to they have? If not hats, can they suggest anything else that their patients may like.
- Is there a local shelter, woman’s or homeless, that might like blankets?
- Check to see if your community has a organization that helps homeless families find homes. Could you provide housewarming gifts to be including when helping to set up the home. Think blankets, potholders, throw rugs or anything to help make the new place warm and comfortable. Check with the women’s shelter as well as they often help set up new homes for women escaping abusive situations.
- Check with the animal shelter to see if they would like blankets for the cages. Or maybe you can make cat toys or fancy dog collars that they can give away with new adoptions or possibly sell to raise money for the shelter.
- Check with the local police to see if they would like comfort buddies to have on hand for when a child has to be removed from a home or is involved in an accident.
- Maybe there is a local foster care home that would like crocheted blankets for the kids. Remember, displaced teens need comfort blankets as well as small children and babies.
- Check with food banks and see if they also collect blankets or maybe they have suggestions of items you could provide that they will offer to their patrons.
- Is there a senior assisted living center/nursing home in your area? Maybe the workers know of a resident who doesn’t have many visitors and could use a lap blanket or slippers.
- Is there a community toy-drive for families in need at the holidays? I’ve made character hats for ours.
- And my favorite, because organizations always need money, donate handmade items for a craft fair fundraiser or a raffle. Check with schools to see if any sports teams or the arts (band, chorus, etc) have upcoming fundraising opportunities you can donate items for a charity sale. I made Christmas Pickles, see photo above, for the marching band and donated hand made items for the elementary school’s silent auction. Many shelters and other non-profit organizations hold silent auctions as fundraisers. They are always looking for items to include in these fundraisers.
When donating local, be sure to follow guidelines established by national organizations. They are there for a reason. It may be for the patient’s comfort, ease of washing or maybe the safety of the recipient. Be sure to use appropriate yarns, wash and/or sterilize if necessary and be sure to keep pets away. And if you don’t have the appropriate yarn but still want to make items for donation, get creative. Baby blankets and lap blankets don’t need the same yarns required for chemo hats. Animals don’t care if your yarn is an odd color. Market bags can be made in inexpensive, scratchy yarns and may sell well at a craft fair fundraiser or silent auction. And if you smoke or have pets in your home be honest and disclose this. Some groups may not want to risk the possible allergens. If having pets is an issue with local organizations maybe concentrate your charitable efforts on supporting an animal shelter.