Monday, March 13, 2006

Hobbies and Donations

By Christina VanGinkel

Crafting is a great way to relax at the end of a hard day at work, or to make yourself feel as if you are being productive in the evening, instead of just zoning out in front of the television yet one more time. Creating something through a hobby is also a great way to give ourselves the feeling of accomplishment that many of us may lack in other areas of our lives. The problem that some of us have though, is that while we enjoy creating things, and even have fun doing so, we do not always have an outlet to give away what we make, and we could not possibly use everything ourselves. I have assembled a few different places that generally will accept donations of items, whether you have a single item or two to donate, or more.

If you are a crocheter or knitter, several organizations will gladly accept donations of items such as blankets, throws, hat, and mittens, and then distribute them to needy places that they have identified can benefit greatly from the items:

Operation Home Front can be found by doing a search for the name of the organization along with the word 'knit' on any major search engine. They will provide knitters with a pattern to knit helmet liners for our troops who are currently serving in cold climates.

Warm up America accepts completed knitted and crocheted blankets for adults and infants, along with lap throws, in assorted sizes. They also accept a specific size (7 inches by nine inches) knitted or crocheted square, which can then be joined together, to make patchwork blankets. You can choose to donate a single section, a couple of them, or enough to make a completed blanket. This is a great way to donate even when you might not have a lot of extra time, but still love to sit down and work with your yarn whenever you do have a few spare minutes. Volunteers then work together to sew the sections together, and this is also a good project for groups to volunteer to do, that are looking for a way to make a difference to their communities. The completed blankets are then donated to needy individuals at shelters and other outlets.

Afghans for Afghans accepts knitted and crocheted blankets, hats, mittens, socks, and more for the disadvantaged people in the country of Afghanistan.

Most local nursing homes will also gladly accept lap sized blankets for their residents to use when they are up in their wheelchairs, or shawls to wrap up in when they are in the common areas. If a nursing home can get enough donations, they will oftentimes even take full sized blankets to give as a gift to each new resident upon arrival at their new home.

Shelters are always in need of throws and blankets to share with those staying in their facilities, as people often end up there with nothing more than the clothing on their backs. If the shelters are in cold areas of the country, hats and mittens are also widely accepted. Call your local homeless and battered women shelters for information on how to drop off a donation.

If you enjoy knitting or crocheting baby items, hospitals sometimes accept donations of layette items, such as preemie sets. These could include a sweater, booties, cap, and even a blanket. If you live in an area, where there exists an organization to help young mothers and other parents struggling financially, you might be able to find locations that would gladly accept donations of knitted and crocheted baby gear.

If you enjoy making small stuffed animals, or baby blankets, some police departments will accept donations for their officers to keep on hand when they are in the field and they encounter a situation where a young child might be in need of comfort. Toys can be given to toddlers and preschoolers to lighten a difficult situation, and blankets can be used with the same age groups and infants in need of comforting.

Donating your knits and crocheted items is a great way to participate in a hobby you love, and allow you to feel good about what you are doing all at the same time. Donate to one of these places, or some place of your own choosing today!

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