Crafting for a Cause: 5 Organizations That Need Your Help
Today is #GivingTuesday, an honored tradition of giving back after three days of massive sales – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday marks the beginning of the charitable season and is a global campaign where 700,000 people raised over $116,000,000 online in over 70 countries. (Source: www.givingtuesday.org)
“#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources, and talents to address local challenges.
It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.” (source: www.givingtuesday.org)
“Encourage the donation of time, resources and talents” ~ these words have such a deeper meaning. We often believe that being charitable means donating money. Yes, it is often the most beneficial type of donation for organizations. However, time and talents are just as important. I created the website, www.givingartfully.com to connect crafters with volunteer opportunities. Whether there is a passion for crafting, or monetary donations are not an option, I wanted to provide a resource where time and talents could be used for charitable causes.
Similarly, I started the program Giving Artfully Kids to empower children at a young age that they can make a difference. Children understand the value of time and effort much more so than monetary value. It drives me crazy when my kids tell me, “That toy ONLY costs $5”. However, since they haven’t experienced working and earning money, it is a hard concept for them to grasp. Rather, when they spend an hour making a preemie hat or a survival bracelet for deployed servicemen, they are engaged and experiencing the time and effort of the project.
5 ORGANIZATIONS NEEDING HAND-CRAFTED ITEMS
Along these lines, I want to share 5 great organizations that need your time and talents. They need volunteers to make handmade items. It is often assumed that most items needed are for knitters and crocheters. However, this list shows that crafting for a cause requires all different types of crafting skills. I picked organizations focusing on different social issues, ranging from helping the homeless to children in the hospital. Similarly, these organizations also require diverse types of crafting skills. The skill level ranges from beginner with no crafting skills to experienced yarn crafters. My hope is that this list provides an opportunity for anyone to start a charity crafting project.
Take a look at the list and start today on a crafting for a cause!
Started in 2007, Ryan's Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) provide hope and comfort to children. Their mission is "to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases that give children an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness." http://caseforsmiles.org/about-us/#ourstory
Beautifully written from their website:
“Today, our programs have expanded to include the children’s entire families so they can better navigate and cope with a very difficult experience and avoid long term emotional trauma. To ensure the highest quality care, we have partnered with PTSD experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children to create valuable web-based information and tools designed for each member of the family’s unique experience.” (http://caseforsmiles.org/about-us/#ourstory)
Donating items for Case for Smiles is simple. Go to http://caseforsmiles.org/get-involved/#sew to download one of their patterns. After finishing your item, you can check this link and scroll to the bottom of the page for a local chapter to drop off your beautiful sewn pillowcase.
Since 1995, over 6 million blankets have been delivered to children worldwide. The mission of Project Linus is to "Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketers.” (www.projectlinus.org).
To make a blanket for the Project Linus, pick the type of blanket you would like to make following a suggested pattern on the Project Linus website. You can then find a local chapter near you to donate your handmade blanket.
For more information Project Linus, you can visit their webpage at www.projectlinus.org
Emily’s Hat for Hope was started in 2011 by 17-year-old Emily. She wanted to help the homeless and working poor in her hometown by making knitted hats for them. Her organization has grown with chapters popping up all over the country. Her vision is to have a local chapter of Emily’s Hat for Hope in every state in the country. Emily’s Hat for Hope has collected over 24,000 winter hats with a goal of donating 50,000 hats by 2021.
To donate to Emily’s Hat for Hope, you can find a local chapter near you at this link: http://www.emilyshatsforhope.org/recipients/or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EmilysHatsForHopeInitiative.
You can also mail your donations to:
Emily's Hats For Hope Initiative
PO Box 2374
Morristown, NJ 07962-2374
The mission of Little Dresses of Africa is "to provide relief to vulnerable children throughout the Continent of Africa and beyond" (http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/about/).
Started in 2007 by Rachel O'Neill, Little Dresses for Africa has sent over 4.5 million pillow case dresses and britches for boys to over 80 countries in and around Africa. The dresses are sewn by volunteers from all over the world and directly distributed by the Little Dresses for Africa team, mission teams or directly mailed. The dresses and britches are symbolic of HOPE for the children in theses impoverished areas.
Rachel chose pillowcase dresses as her pattern of choice because "They are readily available and because the hem is already in the material, even a novice seamstress can be involved in this worthwhile project. The pillowcase pattern has been around since the Pioneer days. They are simple, come in all sizes, materials and colors." (http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/why-pillowcases/)
You can find the pattern for the pillowcase dresses here.
You can mail finished dresses to:
24614 Curtis Dr.
Brownstown, MI 48134
Started in 2010, Cardz for Kidz is “an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards! (http://cardzforkidz.org/) Today, volunteers have made over 20,000 cards for children in hospitals all over the world. Cardz for Kidz has done an amazing job of reaching out to organizations to host events. Organizations like Google, LinkedIn, Capital One, American Heart Association and the University of Illinois Chicago are making donations. We at Giving Artfully Kids (http://www.givingartfullykids.com) are making Cardz for Kidz one of our weekly projects to show children they have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life.
Please contact Cardz for Kidz at firstname.lastname@example.org for the address to send the cards.
For more information, you can visit their website at: http://cardzforkidz.org