Ways for Yarn Crafters to Give Back Locally
When you enjoy crocheting, knitting, or any other yarn craft you run into a typical problem. What am I going to do with all of this stuff? One great way to do this is by giving to charity. There are a lot out there to donate to, but sometimes you want to be able to make a change and contribute locally. In smaller towns a lot of times there won't be local charities listed for you to donate your yarn items to. This does not mean that local places will not accept your handmade items. Below we are going to talk about places you can go that will normally accept yarn crafts and other ways to give back locally!
One of the first places to look is your local animal shelter. Many times animal shelters will accept handmade little blankets to put inside the kennels and this helps the animals keep warm, and comftorable. Many times animal shelters will send these blankets with the animals once they are adopted to help them adjust to their new home. The great thing about these to is you can make them out of scrap yarn.
When you go in ask them if they accept any yarn crafts and based off what your skills are in your craft you could ask about things other than blankets. If they need any dog sweaters, or little puppy booties for smaller dogs who have a hard time going outside in the winter (or any dog whose feet get too cold). Cat toys are another one you can ask about if you can do amigurumi.
Some animal shelters if you talk them will also allow you to sell some of your items in their lobby. Doing this you could donate a portion all of your proceeds to the shelter. Some items that are good for making for this would be dog sweaters, dog booties, hats, scarves, washcloths, cat toys, and other smaller yarn items.
Your local hospital often will have a lot of different ways you can donate. Though sometimes in smaller towns they haven't had a lot of people ask so asking specifically about what you can donate can be a good thing.
Children hospital/ward will be a great place to start with. Sometimes these children have cancer, or have been taken out of abusive households and warm items or comfort items are often greatly appreciated. Making hats for preemies is also a good option and a lot of hospital happily accept those as well. If you can amigurumi, stuffed animals make a great choice, they give them out as comfort items to children who need them. Child sized hats and scarves are also a good option and can be made very quickly and donated in bulk. Baby blankets for preemies are also very sought after though for anything you make for preemies you want to make sure you are using a soft and not irritating yarn, their skin is very sensitive.
The cancer unit is also a good place to donate your yarn items. Chemo makes people very cold so anything you can make for warmth you can donate there. Hats are a very good item to start with, and since chemo makes you go bald a lot people enjoy hats to keep their head from showing. Nice socks or slippers are great as well it will keep their feet warm while they are at the hospital, and to wear around their house after they get home. Lapghans are great to, they can be used while receiving treatment to help you stay warm and comfortable.
Homeless shelters and women's shelters are a good option as well. Many homeless people don't have items to keep them properly warm. Women's shelters often have people who ran from an abusive relationship with very little to their name.
Many homeless shelters will have a list of what is accepted and items that are needed. Often times homeless shelters are in desperate need of socks, they are one of the most sought after but least donated items to homeless shelters. Another item that many people need are gloves and mittens, scarves/hats are also a good thing to make to donate. One item many homeless shelters accept is sleeping mats made out of plastic grocery bags, these can be crochet, or woven, and a quick search on 'plarn sleeping mats' will provide you with many patterns and how to make plarn. If you are a crocheter/knitter, sweaters and blankets are also a great option to donate, especially along with sleeping mats.
Women's shelters often need many of the warmth based items listed above. Another good thing to donate as well is stuffed animals, children's sweaters, and any kind of children clothes you make. Often times these women will now be single mothers so items for their children can be a huge help.
There are a few other ways to help out as well that do not require going to places. One of which is the I am not lost scarf project. For this all you do is take your handmade scarves walk out find a tree, or anything you can tie it too. Then attach a little tag that says I am not lost and if your cold to grab me. There's all kinds of different tags you can find online to print off for these or you can make your own. You can also tie a hat down underneath the scarf, or socks, or any other item you feel someone who is cold in the winter might need.
Another idea is homeless care packages, and these are super easy to put together and you don't have to go anywhere specific to donate them. All you need are ziplock bags, grocery bags, or even handmade yarn bags that can be reused, and items you feel a homeless person might need. Often times these bags aren't full of yarn items but other items people go buy to fill the bags up. I however think this a great idea for smaller yarn projects. You could put a hat or headband inside, pair of gloves, socks, and possibly even a scarf if you roll it up. Then all you do is if your driving around and see someone who is asking for help or money, you can stop and give this to them. If you want to do yarn items along with some other items look up homeless care bags and you will find many lists giving you suggestions on what people really need.
You can also check in your area for groups of people who do your craft because often times they do charity drives for different places around the community. If you look and do not find one however you could always be the one to make it. A quick post on Facebook, talking to some friends you also know enjoy the craft and you could have your own charity drives going or local organizations!
Why donate local
Donating to charities is a great idea but donating locally can be very rewarding in its own way. You get to help with your own community and see the change that can happen from small amounts of help. Also locally charities often don't get as much attention, many times people will donate to larger hospitals or animal shelters. So the smaller town charities don't get as much attention, and really benefit from these donations.
No matter where you go often times there's people or animals that are cold or scared and don't have many people to help them. Your yarn items piling up around the house could really make a change in someones night, or even life, be the change in your community.