Today I would like to talk about something near and dear to my heart: crocheting for charity. There are many different reasons to donate to charity; some people donate to give back to an organization that has helped them in the past, some to honor the memory of loved ones, some just to help other people, and many other reasons. If you are like me and love to crochet, you can combine your desire to donate to charity with your love of crocheting. There are many organizations that accept crocheted donations and I would like to highlight some of them for you.
Warm Up America!
Warm Up America! is a charity that began in 1991 in Wisconsin in order to help neighbors in need. Founder Evie Rosen had the idea for individuals to knit or crochet small sections of an afghan that were later joined together before being given to the needy. Today, the organization is greatly expanded, and distributes afghans, hats, scarves, baby clothes, socks, friendship shawls (visit www.FriendshipShawl.org for more information on the shawls), and of course they still accept 7″by 9″ knit or crocheted sections. The foundation has also partnered with Save the Children health facilities and the Ronald McDonald House Charities in the past as well as many others. In addition to the needs listed above, they are seeking adult sized afghans for teenagers at the Los Angeles Youth Network, 40×40 inch baby blankets for Parkland Hospital, and child and lap sized blankets for needy families in Weslaco Independent School District. Warm Up America! has a large variety of patterns available for browsing as well as their specifications for donations on their website. They are also able to accept monetary donations online. You can visit their website and at http://www.warmupamerica.org/
Octopus for a Preemie
Octopus for a Preemie is a program that started in Denmark in 2013. Crocheted octopi are given to premature infants that are monitored in the NICU. The curly tentacles remind the infants of the umbilical cord in the womb and the infants play with the tentacles instead of their wires, feeding tubes, oxygen lines, etcetera. Some hospitals allow them, some do not. Different countries have different regulations so you will want to check to see if there is an organization already running in your country.
To see the original Danish group check out their website https://www.spruttegruppen.dk/danish-octo-project-english/
To see the group for the United States, you can check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/octoforapreemieus/
The U.S. group has very specific requirements and requires you to become a certified crafter. In order to see the specifications you have to join the closed Facebook group. However, they are now able to accept donations through “The Starfish Project.” Details can be found at the link above.
To see the U.K. group check out their website http://www.octopusforapreemie.com/
Project Linus is a non-profit organization which provides handmade blankets for children in need. Project Linus began in the 1990s when founder Karen Loucks read an article about a little girl who received a special blanket while undergoing chemotherapy. Reading the article prompted Karen to make handmade blankets to donate to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center. The children now served by the Project Linus are “severely ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.” The blankets are often distributed by hospitals, police officers, emergency workers, counselors and social workers. A few examples are kids who have cancer, kids that are in the foster care system, kids who have surgery, teenagers who have been in car accidents, and many more. The organization serves children from birth to age 18. They have a Facebook page where parents of recipients and some of the recipients themselves have written reviews to thank the program for the blankets they received. They also accept monetary donations on their website http://projectlinus.org/.
Both Warm Up America! and Project Linus have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Octopus for a Preemie-US is not currently a 501(c)(3) but is now able to receive donations through Starfish Project, which is a 501(c)(3), but you have to specify that it goes to the Octopus for a Preemie-US. Donations made to a 501(c)(3) can be tax deductible in the United States. Be sure to consult your tax professional for more information as I am NOT one. There are many other worthwhile organizations as well, these are just ones that I have found on my journey to donating my crochet to worthy causes.
Thank you for reading Part 1 of my Crocheting for a Cause series, stay tuned for smaller scaled giving such as how to give locally as well as my personal reasons for giving to the organization of my choice. For those of you who have been following my blog, this is the post I’ve been intending to write for a while as mentioned in It’s A Wrap-May as one of my goals for June.
Special thanks to Warm Up America! and Project Linus for permission to use their logos.