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Knitting Rays of Hope
Knitting Rays of Hope

9 More Charities Looking for Yarn Crafters

Knitting Rays of Hope
Knitting Rays of Hope

There are so many people who would like to put their favorite hobby to use helping others! Here are nine more good causes that are recruiting yarn crafters, suggested by our readers.

1. Knit-A-Square

Photograph from Knit-A-Square at Facebook

Knit-A-Square invites yarn crafters to join in a project that is simple enough for even beginners: knit or crochet an 8-inch square. The collected squares are sent to South Africa, where they are assembled into blankets for orphaned or vulnerable children affected by AIDS. These blankets, along with toys and knitted clothing, go to children in 54 countries. Over 12,000 knitters have contributed already, and you can join them at Facebook or at the charity’s forum.

2. The Snuggles Project

Photograph from the Snuggles Project Facebook page

Rae French learned to knit in 1960, and used a blanket she made to keep kittens warm when their mother died. After that experience, she began to make security blankets, or “Snuggles” for her animals and those of her friends. She founded the Snuggles Project as part of the Hugs For Homeless Animals organization in 1996, which connects good-hearted yarn crafters with animal shelters near them that could use security blankets to comfort animals and make the place feel more homey. Go here to learn about donating your time and effort.

3. Halos of Hope

Photograph from Halos of Hope at Facebook

Pamela Haschke battled breast cancer in 2004 with chemotherapy and other treatments. She found out that losing your hair hurts physically as well as psychologically, and her favorite caps to wear during that time were the ones that were handmade with love. She founded Halos of Hope, a non-profit that collects colorful caps for cancer patients from knitters, crocheters, and seamstresses who donate their time and skills. See the guidelines here, and see more of the hats and the donor community at the Halos of Hope blog.

4. Elephants Remember Joplin

In 2011, a tornado roared through Joplin, Missouri, and killed 158 people and injured a thousand more. And the town was flattened. Eight-year-old Cee Cee Creech wanted to do something to help the survivors, but what? One thing Cee Cee knew how to do was make knit elephants. To make that work for Joplin, she made it a marathon and took pledges from the community for every elephant she made in a project called Elephants Remember Joplin. Cee Cee raised over $3,000, and presented the money to the Red Cross Joplin assistance fund and the elephants to people in Joplin only a few weeks after the tragedy. She eventually raised over $10,000 to help rebuild homes in Joplin, then Cee Cee turned her talents to helping other causes. She makes elephants to give to those in need, and to sell and raffle off for charities. Other knitters joined in, and now a community of knitters work together to knit toys and clothing to fund charities all over the world. You can keep up with their activities at Facebook.

5. Mats for Cats

Cathy Coulter and Tish Cavalier aren’t so much looking for knitters to make things, but want to appeal to knitters for donations of leftover yarn. Color doesn’t matter, and the type matters little. They use the yarn to make soft cage liners in their Mats for Cats project. The yarn is knitted into blanket-like padding used as cage floors at cat shelters. Mats for Cats is affiliated with the Potsdam Humane Society in Potsdam, New York, but the mats generated are shared with shelters all over, and feral cats as they are identified. The Stray Cat Alliance received these. The mats shown here went to the Houlton Humane Society. There are stories on the Facebook page about how some mats end up as security blankets for the cats.

6. Project Linus

Photograph from Saint Francis University

In 1995, Karen Loucks read about a three-year-old who went through chemotherapy with the help of her trusty security blanket. Loucks decided to supply the Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center in Denver with homemade security blankets, a goal which eventually became Project Linus. Project Linus went nationwide, and still gathers homemade blankets for children distributed through hospitals, shelters, and aid agencies. The organization has chapters all over the United States. Donated blankets can be sewn, quilted, hand-woven, knitted, or crocheted, but must be high-quality and free of smoke or pet hair.

7. Wrapped in Hugs

LifeSource is the organization that coordinates organ donation in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Their Wrapped in Hugs program aims to present a handmade wrap/blanket to every family of an organ donor at the time of donation, as a thank you gift. Volunteers are needed to knit or crochet wraps, because about 600 are needed every year.

Gift of Life is an organization that encourages and coordinates organ donation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. They have a program called Wrapped in Hugs that seeks yarn crafters to make knitted or crocheted wraps as gifts to donor families, presented at their annual Donor Remembrance Ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to make wraps by October first.

8. Feel Better Friends

Photograph from Feel Better Friends at Facebook

Are you still making dolls, even though your children are grown and everyone you know has one of yours already? Make one for Feel Better Friends! Volunteers with Feel Better Friends crochet dolls to resemble a specific child dealing with any traumatic health issue. The dolls have the same hair and eye color as the child, and the hair/wig can be detachable for children going through chemotherapy. The point is make the child feel less “different” because of the health issue. To volunteer and learn how to make the custom dolls, you’re invited to join the FBF Volunteers in Training group at Facebook. You can also request a doll for a child you know.

9. Knitting Rays of Hope

Knitting Rays of Hope collects handmade knitted, crocheted, or loomed hats to give to babies in neonatal intensive care units and to cancer patients. They have distributed over 2400 hats since 2012. Here’s what you need to know if you want to make them a hat. Follow the progress of the organization at Facebook.

See also: 10 Charities Looking for Yarncrafters.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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The U.S. Postal Service Is Making Holiday Dreams Come True, One Letter at a Time
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Each Christmas season, the United States Postal Service (USPS) receives millions of letters from kids writing to Santa Claus. To help make children's holidays brighter, the postal service runs “Operation Santa,” a program that allows members of the public to play St. Nick and pen responses.

The USPS first began receiving Santa letters more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave local postmasters the go-ahead to open and reply to these missives; by the 1940s, charities, corporations, and volunteers were also providing responses and sending gifts to kids.

Today, the Operation Santa program is headquartered in the James A. Farley Post Office Building (the main USPS building in New York City) and has select satellite locations across the U.S.—and a brand-new website and platform is helping do-gooders around the country spread holiday cheer by allowing them to “adopt” a letter online.

Visit Operation Santa’s website, and browse the virtual mailroom to select a letter. Choose one you love, and the USPS will email you a letter ID. Write a response or send a gift (or both!), and bring your package or letter to the nearest drop-off location. In place of an address in the upper left-hand corner, use the provided ID number (this protects people's identities), and be prepared to provide both a completed Adopter Form and a photo ID [PDF].

Not all post offices participate in Operation Santa, as some might not have the requisite facilities, staff, or location to join the program. To see if your neighborhood location is joining in the fun this year, visit Operation Santa’s website for a list of registered locations.

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