When looking for a charity to support, do your homework. Ask the staff at your local quilt, yarn, or craft shop, or a teacher with whom you're taking a class. They will probably have charity project information or names of groups who are already making charity projects. Check out reputable websites such as Kaye Wood's, who has a nice list of reputable charities.
Here is just a short list of a few ways to provide comfort, help out those with needs, or to help raise money for research or assistance.
Knit One Save One: Part of the Save the Children organization, this project will distribute knit and crocheted caps to pregnant women and new moms and their babies in many countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Afghanistan. In early 2009, Save the Children will take the notes to the next President and discuss needed actions.
Caps for Kids: There are so many children and adults in need of a bright colored cap to wear when they lose their hair to chemotherapy. At a time when their lives are in enough turmoil, perhaps having a cap someone has made just for them, will bring some renewed hope into their life. Please help today.
Project Linus is comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. It is the mission 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 “blanketeers.” Second, to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children. Together they have distributed more than two million blankets to children in need since 1995. The above photo is a donation mentioned on Adrienne's Blog.
Quilts for Kids: To transform unwanted and discontinued fabric into quilts that comfort children in need.
And as an animal lover, I'm partial to The Snuggle Project which is under the auspices of Hugs for Homeless Animals. With three cats of my own who love their travel blankets that I knit for them when we made our cross country trip to our new home, I can vouch for the comfort these little blankets bring. The Snuggle Project provides 'security blankets' for animals housed in shelters.
Of course the quilters who have been doing the most for the longest are associated with Mennonite Central Committee which provides quilts and relief everywhere. Their quilts and comfort cover the world. When we lived in the Toledo, Ohio area, I remember attending the Sunshine Children's Home auction where Mennonite women had made and donated hundreds of quilts to be auctioned off for support of this home that caters to children with horrendous birth defects. The auction continues each June, now under the name Black Swamp Benefit Bazaar. What a great place to purchase quilts made by the most talented and devoted women I've ever met, and the money certainly supports a worthy cause.
Quiltville has a list of other charities you might want to support. Or perhaps you know a family in your community, a military family, a homeless shelter, a family member who could use a little extra love and warmth and help this year. It is true, the more you give, the more you get. Simply knowing we can do something to ease anther's pain or isolation puts new spring in our steps and lifts our own spirits.