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.

15 Organizations Helping Women Around the World

Organizations supporting women and promoting equality and fairness in wages, in behavior, and with opportunities have spent years putting women's rights at the forefront of their missions. In honor of International Women's Day, held annually on March 8, we've compiled a list of organizations that are fueling this societal change for the better. Check out the institutions that are helping fight for what's fair, no matter where women are in the world.


A woman walks with her child

Since 2007, this advocacy group has been empowering under-privileged women in Uganda by offering business training and access to microloans to help facilitate their professional independence. The group's contributions have emboldened Ugandans, with five women affiliated with WGEF's programs running for—and winning—political office in 2016.


A Center for Reproductive Rights illustration
Center for Reproductive Rights

Supporting a woman's right to make decisions about her own body is the focus of this legal consortium, which has had impact on local and international laws. They've had influence over reproductive health policies in Asia, Africa, and the U.S., and helped shed light on an oppressive abortion ban in El Salvador that's led to women being jailed for stillbirths. Their efforts on behalf of "Las 17," 17 Salvadoran women accused of having abortions, has seen several women released from prison; the efforts are ongoing.


The Women for Women International logo
Women for Women International

This nonprofit seeks to support women displaced or marginalized by conflict and oppression in eight foreign territories including Iraq and Rwanda. Many of their efforts are education-based, facilitating classes and finding opportunities for graduates. Currently, the group is offering psychosocial and educational resources to Syrian women in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with a goal of reaching over 3000 women in the next three years.


A classroom facilitated by School Girls Unite
School Girls Unite

This nonprofit tackles education discrimination among young women in developing countries. In Mali, Africa, for example, only one in four girls make it to 7th grade. School Girls Unite subsidizes their education, often at a cost as little as $75 per child, and follows the recipients to encourage them to complete their education.


The Time's Up logo
Time's Up

The personal and professional consequences of reporting sexual harassment in the workplace have often made it difficult for women to speak out. Fearing they'll be ostracized, they remain quiet. On top of that, legal action can be costly. Backed by the National Women's Law Center, the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund seeks to provide legal assistance for women looking to battle harassment in court. Just two months into their existence, organizers have fielded 1700 requests from all across the world, including the U.S., Kenya, and Kuwait.


A mother holds her child's hand

Model Christy Turlington Burns founded this activist group that seeks to improve medical care for mothers around the world by training professionals, improving transportation to care facilities, and donating crucial supplies to clinics. The organization has arranged grants that have improved mother mortality rates in Tanzania, Haiti, and India.


A book is open to the definition of equality

Putting an end to unjust and gender-biased laws is the focus of Equality Now, which has helped change over 50 laws and pursued equal rights since its inception in 1992. Thanks to their activism, women in Kuwait have voting rights; in the U.S., the group's protests and engagement also helped pass the first law prohibiting sex tourism.


A woman works in a field

Persistent cultural traditions endorse the practice of female genital cutting (FGC), which involves the removal of external female genitalia. Risky, unnecessary, and invasive, the tradition is being challenged by Orchid Project, which aims to end the practice by circulating educational information in areas like Ethiopia.


A person types on a laptop

Since 1987, this social enterprise has pursued the mission statement of founder Anita Borg by putting women in a position to excel in the technology field. The group provides resources for education in coding and diversity both in the U.S. and abroad. In India, they organize career fairs for women only, offering companies the chance to improve their gender diversity in the workforce.


A woman sits with her child

Offering financial resources to poverty-stricken areas of Guatemala, Friendship Bridge offers opportunities for education and entrepreneurial training that would otherwise be unavailable.  By offering microcredit loans, women collaborate with other members of a "trust" and take part in educational sessions as part of the terms of the loan. By combining capital with resources, Friendship Bridge is able to facilitate better working conditions for the population.


The Pathfinder International logo
Pathfinder International

Pathfinder seeks to eliminate barriers to health or reproductive services in over 19 countries, working to end unsafe abortions and HIV transmission. The group also offers family planning counseling and aims to expand the availability of contraceptives.


Articles of clothing are arranged on a rack

Wearing the appropriate attire for a job interview is crucial for prospective employees. For over 20 years, the caregivers at Dress for Success have been helping women realize their professional goals by providing apparel they might not otherwise be able to afford. The nonprofit accepts clothing donations and then distributes them to countries and areas that may not have wardrobe resources on hand.


A Global Fund for Women infographic
Global Fund for Women

Movements big and small have been influenced by this nonprofit that seeks to finance efforts toward equality. The group has helped over 5000 directives in 175 countries since 1987, including efforts to improve women's working conditions and halt human trafficking.


A woman sits in a field

Helping women thrive in rural India in the focus of this nonprofit, which prioritizes education, health care, and gender equality. Their goals have emphasized self-defense training for women as well as financial management skills. 


The MADRE logo

Following wars or natural disasters, MADRE teams with local community leaders to create solutions. When resources are scarce, the organization brings in the tools necessary for women to help rebuild. In Kenya, that can mean clean water; in Colombia, it could mean art therapy for survivors of war or abuse.   

Disney/Marvel Studios
Success of Black Panther Inspires Disney to Donate $1 Million to Youth STEM Programs
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Since opening in U.S. theaters on February 16, Blank Panther has already defied industry expectations more than once. The blockbuster now holds the records for biggest February opening, biggest standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and highest-grossing film featuring a black cast. To celebrate the film's groundbreaking success, Disney is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Fortune reports.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs to young people from low-income households. They offer kids a place to build their athletic, artistic, and leadership skills, but Disney's donation will go specifically toward funding STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The technology of the fictional African nation of Wakanda plays a central role in Black Panther. Shuri, T'Challa's sister and the head of all things tech in the film, has been praised for potentially inspiring young women to take an interest in STEM. "It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film," Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "So it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use Disney's generous donation to help establish STEM Centers of Innovation in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, where much of the movie was shot, and Oakland, California, the hometown of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. Ten additional cities, from New Orleans to Chicago, will also be getting STEM centers of their own.

The donation is sure to make a huge impact on communities around the country, but it's just a fraction of what Disney is set to make from the film. According to some projections, it won't be long before film surpasses the $1 billion mark at the global box office.

[h/t Fortune]


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