Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget there are people and animals in the world that are suffering. In a time when money is not freely disposable, we must find creative ways to help our fellow mankind. You can use your talent to help the world become a better place for the less fortunate. I was amazed at how many programs there are out there that appreciate the value of homemade sewn items and how desperately they need our help. Not only are the items practical, but something that is handmade is made with love and the recipient is sure to feel that love. Please, do what you can to help someone in need this holiday season. Below is a list of organizations that need your skills to make a different in someone’s life.
Cook Children’s Medical Center is a non-profit pediatric hospital located in Fort Worth, Texas. Their vision is to provide each patient with a child-size pillowcase during their stay and to take home with them once they are discharged. If you go to the ITEMS tab on their website, you will find a list of items you can make and donate. The items needed range from pillowcases to Medical Play Dolls to Crib Bumper Pads and more.
Dress A Girl Around The World
This is project is part of Hope 4 Women International. There are girls around the world who have never owned a dress, something I for one previously took for granted. Volunteers are needed to create dress, at any skill level, to send to girls in impoverished nations. The site includes a few guidelines and detailed instructions dressmaking. You can make something as simple as a pillowcase dress or go more elaborate if you wish.
Downy “Touch of Comfort” Quilts for Kids
Downy and the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals have teamed up to deliver donated handmade quilts to sick children. Volunteers can create their own machine pierced and quilted quilts. You can also request a quilt kit from the website via the How to Help tab.
Volunteers are needed to create blankets for to seriously ill, traumatized or needy children. This 16 year old organization all types of blankets, whether they are quilts, afghans, throws, etc. “Blanketeers” are asked to create colorful, child-friendly washable blankets that come from a smoke-free home.
Baby Threads of New Hampshire
Baby Threads of New Hampshire is a non-profit organization determined to relieve the effects of poverty for infants, children, and adults in New Hampshire. Volunteers are asked to create whatever they love to create for children. There is a list of urgently need items under the WISH LIST. Items include hats, mittens, blankets baby socks, baby sweaters, baby clothing, blankets, and much, much more.
Their vision is “A Case for Smiles – Helping children feel special while battling life changing illness.” Conkerr serves 225 hospital and pediatric hospitals across the United States, Canada, and South Africa. Volunteers are needed to create colorful, child-friendly pillowcases to brighten up hospital rooms for these brave children.
Mary Madeline Project
Mary Madeline Project’s purpose is to provide families who have suffered the death of an infant with burial gowns and blankets. Women donate their wedding gowns and volunteers give their time and skill to create this much needed garments.
Care Wear provides handmade baby items to hospitals. Volunteers are needed to sew, knit, or crochet a range of baby items like hats, bibs, burial gowns, incubator covers, and more. The website also provides patterns you can use to make these items.
Stitches From The Heart
Stitches from the heart was created after the founder learned the premature babies often go home with little or no clothing. You can send in baby items that you have knitted or sewed directly to their office. Their site is a little hard to find if you try to Google it. I suggest using the link directly.
Threads of Love
Threads of Love provides clothing, blankets, and other baby homemade baby items to premature infants and sick babies. If you have a specific hospital you wish to send your items to, follow the Adopt a Hospital tab. The website provides patterns for burial gowns and preemie gowns.
For The Troops
Soldiers’ Angles aim to make sure every military family feels loved and appreciated. You can make a blanket, Adopt a Soldier, or even submit a soldier to receive a blanket of hope.
American Hero Quilts
Volunteers are needed to piece and quilt exceptional patriotic, heirloom quality quilts for injured troops returning from war through military hospitals. There is a list of stringent standards to stick to when making a quilt for this organization. Make sure to read them on the right side of the “How Can I Help” tab.
Operation Marine Corps Kids
Operation Marine Corps kids sends care packages to military families who have a newborn while a parent serves overseas. To help alleviate the stress of caring for a family single handedly, Operation Marine Corps Kids needs crafter volunteers to provide handmade blankets, booties, bibs, toys, and much more to our military families.
Quilt for The Cure
Quilt for the Cure collects quilt patches from “warriors” honoring survivors and those who have passed from breast cancer. Quilts are the pieced together and quilted with the help of volunteers and then submitted to cancer centers across the country.
Knit, crochet, or sew a beautiful hat for a patient going through chemotherapy. The site provides guidelines and patterns for headwear.
Joni and Friends
Joni and Friends is a ministry helping disabled people around the world. Contact your local ministry to get information of what services are needed in your area. For example, they might need you to sew wheelchair cushions or saddle bags.
Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative
AAQI is raising money to fund awareness and research for Alzheimer’s disease. Art quilts are donated and then auctioned to raise money needed to cure this devastating disease.
Quilt for A Cure
Quilt for a Cure was started after the family’s infant daughter was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Quilts are needed to be auctioned off to raise money for research to find a cure.
Pink Slipper Project
The Pink Slipper Project provides women and children living in shelters with handmade slippers to keep their toes snug and warm. They are also doing a Christmas stocking drive for the children currently in shelters. The website provides items needed and free patterns for making the slippers.
Days For Girls International Feminine Hygiene Program
Days for Girls has provides girls and women in 21 countries with reusable feminine hygiene products to give them the sense of dignity and productivity they need. Volunteers are asking to sew reusable sanitation napkins or donate supplies so that women may learn to make their own.
Afghans for Afghans
Afghans for Afghans is an educational social project that sends hand knit and crocheted items to the people of Afghanistan. This project was inspired by the Red Cross volunteers who made Afghans, slippers, and socks for soldiers and refugees during WWI and WWII.
Hats 4 The Homeless
Hats 4 the Homeless seeks to collect hats, scarves and gloves for homeless people suffering out in the cold. You can request a box and poster to set outside businesses, churches, or schools for collections or simple make up your own homemade winter gear and send it in.
The Sleeping Bag Project
Volunteers are needed to use recycled materials and fabric to make durable and warm sleeping bags to distribute to the homeless. Instructions are provided under the Help Us tab.
Blankets for Canada
Canada’s homeless need blankets to keep them warm and they need your help. Established in 1998, this program relies completely on volunteers to donate quilts and fabrics. They also accept knitter and crocheted blankets.
Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation
With unemployment on this reservation at 80 percent and stricken with extreme poverty, they need help from generous people. The website has a section listing all the items they need (sheets, blankets, towels, baby items, etc), which in turn links you to another site with information on how to make each item.
Coffee Creek Quilters
Coffee Creek Quilters teaches women incarcerated at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, how to quilt. “Students have the opportunity to learn patience, perseverance, problem-solving and the importance of quality work through quilting”. Women who learn at skill while incarcerated are more likely to become rehabilitated into society. They need supplies for the classes and for release kits to be taken home with the women when they are released.
The Sewing Machine Project
“Collecting and distributing sewing machines to women around the world. Our goal: to mend communities, one sewing machine at a time”. If you have an old sewing machine that you never use anymore, why not donate? They accept all donations, are long as the machines are in good working order. They also accept patterns, notions, and other sewing supplies as well as monetary donations.
Gifts for the Nations
Gifts for the Nations is a Christian Humanitarian Ministry that delivers a variety of supplies to other ministries located in developing and impoverished nations. It is listed on their website that they are looking for people to donate sewing kits. They include a list of the supplies (notions, thread, needles, machine) needed.
This environmentally conscious program needs volunteers to sew and distribute reusable bags in hopes to eliminate plastic bags. The website provides instructions on how to make these trendy totes.
This is a well known charity organization that provides security blankets “Snuggles” to animals in need. There is a pattern library located on the website for the projects they need volunteers to donate.
This organization relies on volunteers to create pet beds for the kennels of needy animals. There are workshops where you can meet fellow sewing volunteers and create warm, loving pet beds. The website also has a link to the right side of the page with instructions on creating a pet bed.