Crocheting for Charity, Part 1

Charity Crochet, Established Organizations

Octopus for a Preemie-US

Donated Octos for the Octopus for a Preemie-US organization

Apparently, I have a reputation as one who crochets.  🙂  I often have friends and relatives send me links, post on my timeline or tag me with whatever the latest viral crochet pattern or project may be.  And I love this.  When my non-crocheting buddies come across something, I know it is something big and hot right now.

A few months ago, my sister-in-law sent me a link to a story about octopuses being crocheted for babies in the NICUs of hospitals.  I had heard of this before but hadn’t really looked too much into it.  This link got me interested in learning more (Thanks Chris!) and ultimately, to writing this blog post about crocheting for charity.  I love to crochet for charity but let me retell my story as to why I didn’t for a number of years.

Shortly after I began crocheting, I found an individual who was putting together a group of crocheters to make hats for children in hospitals who were going through chemo treatments.  Being a mom of two little boys, who were thankfully healthy, I jumped at this opportunity to do some good for kids and hoped to make some new crochet friends along the way.  I made 5 or 6 hats and they were submitted to the hospital along with all the others that were collected.  A month or so later, I received a thank you in the mail from the hospital’s public relations officer.  I was so excited and wanted to make more so I called the hospital representative to find out what would be the best type of hats to make.  I wanted to make what he kids liked.  This was over 10 years ago and I still remember her response verbatim-“We have so many hats, we don’t need anymore hats.  We have boxes and boxes in a closet.  Please don’t send us anymore hats.”  Now I don’t know if I caught this woman on a bad day or what, but I was shocked.  I remember saying “OK, thank you” and hanging up.  I let the woman who was heading the group know what I found out.  She believed her hats were going directly to the kids and wanted to continue.  I decided I didn’t want to make hats thinking they may just end up in a closet somewhere so I quit the group.  While I was disappointed and frustrated, I am thankful the woman at the hospital was honest with me.  If not, I may have continued my efforts making items that may have never been used as intended.  And this experience taught me how important it is to research charities prior to donating to them.  After this happened, I shared my story above with more than one organization.  I explained to them that I wanted to confirm the crocheted items I made and donated would 100% end up with the intended recipients.  Thankfully, the contacts of the organizations were honest as well and stated they were unable to confirm this.  They were groups collecting items but not checking with the recipients whether or not they were even wanted.  How many of those donated hats/blankets/whatever were ending up in boxes in closets?  Hopefully none but in all likelihood, at least some of them were.  This was such a shame to me.

Fast forward a few years and I stumbled upon Halos of Hope.  When I retold the story above to Pam, the founder, and expressed concern as to where the hats were donated,  she assured me they were being sent directly to chemo centers around the country who wanted them.  And so I became a Halos of Hope volunteer and made hats, lots and lots of hats.  Unfortunately, this wonderful organization has recently closed its doors.  Pam has decided to focus on her family and made the difficult decision to cease operations. www.halosofhope.com/

Over that last few years I have found a number of organized groups who collect crocheted items and distribute them.  There are a number of wonderful reasons to work with an established organization when crocheting for charity.  Listed below are some of the benefits as well as some potential issues-

  1. Many of these organizations are registered as 501c non-profit organizations.  This means any money donated to them are potentially tax-deductible.  Some of the organizations are not as big and therefore not registered as non-profits, however they are just as awesome in the charity work they do. Donating money is never required, just an option to help the organization in their efforts.
  2. The organization has already researched or has individuals who find recipients who want the crocheted goods.  They work with shelters/hospitals/or other groups who say, “YES! send us your crocheted items.  We will get them in the hands of people who want them”.  They will not take a box of hats to a hospital who will only place them in a closet.
  3. They often have specific requirements in what they will accept and what materials you can use.  Many times they will require you to use specific yarn or a specific pattern or they will not accept your items.  If there is such a requirement follow it for it is there for a reason!  It may be to keep the recipients safe, or for comfort, or for wash-ability or for some other reason.  If you cannot meet the established requirements, please find another organization to work with.
  4. If you do not have a local chapter you will have to mail your projects and will incur postage cost. Seek out the local chapter or collection site if available.  Most organizations will have chapters or drop off locations listed by state on their website. Maybe you will be lucky and have a location near you.  This would save postage costs and maybe you can make some new friends!

Below is a list of organizations I have come across where the donated items are sent to recipients who have asked for and want the items.

  1. Octopus for a Premie, The Octo Project.
    Collects crocheted octopuses.
    Original Danish site, https://www.spruttegruppen.dk/danish-octo-project-english/
    A list by country for Facebook groups or website, http://mynomadhome.com/the-octopus-for-a-preemie-project-a-list-of-countries-and-their-websites/
    The US group, on Facebook, is very strict on the materials used and other requirements.  This is important as the item is going to a very precious new little life and we want him or her to be safe!  The photo above is a collection of octos sent to one of the group ambassadors, Lisa.  She will inspect each one for safety, sterilize and then deliver to a hospital.  Lots and lots of love!
  2. Hats for Sailors, website,  http://hatsforsailors.com/
    Ravelry group, http://www.ravelry.com/groups/hats-for-sailors
    All hats must be hand-made of 100% washable wool (superwash).
  3. Knitted Knockers, https://www.knittedknockers.org/
    Knitted and crocheted breast prosthetics.
    Yarn requirements and specific pattern required, see website.
  4. Project Linus, http://www.projectlinus.org/
    Collects handmade blankets.
    Check your local chapter for any restrictions.

There are number of other dedicated groups out there. Whatever your passion may be there is likely a related charitable opportunity for you to share your crochet talents.  But do your homework and ask questions. And for those who prefer to keep their charity work local, please check back as my next post will provide ideas on how you can support your local community with your crochet talents.

crochet patterns for men

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, June Update

A Birthday Hat for Halos of Hope

Countryside Slouchy crocheted for Halos of Hope, chemo donationPat with 12 Months = 24 Hats  is so sweet.  My birthday was last month and she surprised me with a gift pattern, The Countryside Slouchy.  This hat has a unique style and is one I had not yet made.  It is always fun to try something new and I enjoyed making this hat.  Thanks Pat!!!!

Click on the hat and it will bring you to my Ravelry project page to see more photos.

This hat weighs 3.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 10

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3 pounds, 12.5 ounces!

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Lapghan crocheted with scraps made for donation #CbyDH

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, May Update

Scrap Lapghan!

Lapghan crocheted with scraps made for donation #CbyDHEach November the local Wal-Mart hosts a couple giving trees for charitable organizations that support local kids in need as well as seniors living in the local assisted living center.  Paper ornaments are hung with holiday wishes of the individuals served by the organizations.  Every year I fulfill a child’s wish and purchase something from the store for them.  And every year I notice a senior wishing for a warm lapghan and I think to myself, “Darn it, I don’t have time to make one.”  So this year I was determined to plan ahead and make a lapghan or two in advance.  This is my first and it will be donated this coming November.

While doing research for the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle series, I came across a new-to-me concept for using up small scraps called Magic Balls.  I thought this was a fantastic idea. I  gathered up a number of unused squares and scraps from when I designed the Patchwork Kitty Blanket and made three magic balls with the smaller scraps.  Working in the left-over squares with a version of the Nighty Night Baby Blanket I was able to finish a 30″ X 36″ lapghan.   Phew, that was a lot of ends to work in!!

The blanket weighs 1 pound, 3 ounces.

Yarn scraps for magic ball

The scraps before!!! What a mess 🙂

Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps

Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps.

 

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 9

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total lapghans made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 1

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3 pounds, 9.25 ounces!

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Sneaking in One More for April

One more for April, 2015!

Purple Fuzz chemo hat for donation, Halos of Hope

While gathering up my collection of hats to mail to Halos of Hope I found this hat that was 90% done.  I had started it in February while I worked up the pattern for the orange furry wig.  I didn’t have enough yarn so I had to turn it into a beanie.  At some point I set it aside and completely forgot about it.  It is a whole ‘lotta Purple Fuzz!  The furry wig pattern is still on my to-do list and I have more furry yarn in stash to work with.

This hat weighs 3.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 10

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 2 pounds, 6.25 ounces!

15 hats ready to mail to Halos of Hope

15 hats ready to mail to Halos of Hope

 

Whispers, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/whispers-shawl-shawlette-or-scarf

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, End of April Update

Three More Hats for Halos of Hope

Halos of Hope chemo hat for donation, crochetPat with 12 Months = 24 Hats challenged me this past month with who could make the most hats during the month.  The winner gets 2 skeins of cotton yarn.  I started out strong and completed 2 hats in the first week.  But the month became busier for me and I was only able to complete 3 more in last couple of weeks.  Overall, 5 hats in one month is pretty great and I’m pleased with my progress.  I’m anxious to see how many Pat completed and if she’ll be sending me yarn or if I’ll be sending some to her! Of course, the real winner is Halos of Hope as all hats will be donated to them.

Halos of Hope chemo hat for donation, Big Kahuna crochet pattern The first hat is a pattern from the April issue of ILikeCrochet.com.  It is the Darling Baby Hat made in the largest size.  I used some organic cotton yarn I have had for a while and love it.  The flower is attached with a safety-pin so it can be moved or removed for washing.

Big Kahuna crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins.  Made for Halos of Hoe chemo hat donationThe next hat is a Big Kahuna made with Bernat Handicrafter CottonTwists.  I LOVE the bright pinks!

Beanie crocheted by Darleen Hopkins for Halos of Hope donation, chemo hatThe last hat is a random striped basic beanie.  I didn’t follow a pattern.  I just grouped together some small balls of leftover cotton/acrylic blend yarn that I thought looked nice together and started crocheting.  I like the way it turned out but it was A LOT of ends to work in.

It was a lot of fun to “compete” with Pat this month.  I can’t wait to see how many she finished!!  Did she beat 5???

These three hats weigh 8.75 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 9

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 2 pounds, 3 ounces!

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins