If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you may have found yourself in the predicament where you feel like starting a new yarn project, but don’t really have anything in particular you need. So you knit another dishcloth, or maybe ten more dishcloths. 🙂 Can you relate? One of the answers to this predicament is to knit for charity and give the items away to someone in need.
Knitters and crocheters seem to be a generous group of people and because I have a few knitting patterns here on my blog, I’ve been asked several times if I know of organizations that might accept knitted donations. Sometimes I give advice to check out a local yarn shop if possible as they often know of local possibilities for donations.
But for many folks, a local yarn shop isn’t an option and therefore I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of national organizations that take donations of knitted or crocheted items for a variety of good causes. Some of these organizations accept many types of items and others are more specific in what they want donated. Some are not fussy about patterns, while others have requirements of only using the patterns they provide. Some of them have local chapters while others just ask that items be sent to their headquarters.
So in no particular order, here are 10 organizations for you to check out. Many of them are possibilities for using up your leftover yarns too (something knitters and crocheters love to do!) Perhaps one of these groups will be the perfect answer for you and you’ll be able to knit or crochet to your heart’s content and bless others too!
#1 Little Hats Big Hearts – Red hats for babies born in February
Update December, 2019 – Per the AHA website, this program has been discontinued. A possible alternative is knitting purple baby hats for the Click For Babies program.
This project is part of the American Heart Association. Hats are knitted or crocheted for newborn babies in the color red to raise awareness of congenital heart defects in newborns. The hats are only collected at certain times of the year (their website suggests checking in the late summer or early fall) and the hats are then distributed to hospitals for use in the month of February. If you have an interest and need a pattern, my newborn knit hat pattern would be ideal, and looks cute in red too!
#2 Project Linus – Blankets for needy children
Project Linus collects homemade blankets to distribute to needy children, and the blankets can be crafted in many ways whether it be knit, crochet, quilted, or tied fleece. Links to patterns are available on their site too.
#3 Knitted Knockers – Prosthetics for breast cancer survivors
When you visit the Knitted Knockers site, you’ll find several very inspirational videos to watch, and you’ll be anxious to knit up some knockers! This project is all about making breast prosthetics for breast cancer survivors that are more soft, comfortable, and lightweight than what is usually offered through the medical community. And because they are given away for free, they are a great solution for those that might not be able to afford something else. They have several patterns available and if you can simply knit them up using one of their approved yarns and send them, their experts will take care of the seaming and stuffing.
#4 Alice’s Embrace – Prayer shawls and lap blankets for those with Alzheimers
The soft touch of a hand made shawl or lap blanket can be a comfort to a person suffering from Alzheimers. Both their shawls and blankets are simple shapes to create too. The pattern page on this site is a beautiful gallery of different stitches, with links to patterns for how those stitches can be created into either a shawl or a lap blanket.
#5 Mother Bear Project – Knit bears for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa
These knit bears are a comforting gift given to children in Africa affected by HIV/Aids. This organization asks that all bears be knit using their pattern so that all children receive the same type of bear. The pattern is purchased for a donation of $5 to help assist their charity. Crochet patterns are also available.
#6 Knit-a-Square – 8″ squares made into blankets in South Africa for needy children
Even beginners can contribute to this project that collects 8″ knitted or crocheted squares that are sent to South Africa where they are assembled and distributed to those in need. Even just a simple garter stitch knitted square is good! Their website states that it takes about 35 squares to make a blanket and they are always in need of more squares. They also accept donations of handmade hats, handwarmers and soft toys. Several patterns are on their site as well.
#7 Warm Up America – Variety of knitted and crocheted items
Warm Up America is another organization that accepts squares that will be assembled into blankets, however they accept other items too. At the time of this writing their website states that they are always accepting finished afghans of any size, adult hats, scarves, and baby clothing. So if you already have a favorite pattern for an item in one of those categories that you like to make, this organization is a good possibility for donating.
#8 Magic Yarn Project – Yarn princess and pirate wigs for children fighting cancer
For children battling cancer, the chemotherapy can leave their young scalps too sensitive to wear traditional wigs. These yarn crafted wigs based on Disney characters are a playful and magical answer to that problem! Donation possibilities include the crochet beanies that are the base of the wigs, as well as donations of some of the crocheted embellishments including snowflakes, tiaras, and starfish. Several patterns are available on their site.
#9 Warm Hands Network – Warm items sent to needy in cold northern Canadian locations
Warm items for those in need are always appreciated, but the need can be even greater in the cold northern regions of Canada. This organization collects, hats, mittens, neck warmers (they do not accept scarves), socks, sweaters, vests, and blankets. I did note in one area of the site it stated “we always get tons of hats and very few neck warmers” so if a neck warmer is something you are inspired to knit, I’m sure it would be welcomed. Several patterns are available on their site, including one for a neck warmer.
#10 Comfort for Critters – Blankets to comfort animals in shelters
And finally, let’s not forget our furry friends that can use the comfort of a soft knitted item too. Comfort for Critters collects small handmade blankets to donate to animal shelters. You can either bring your items directly to an organization on their list of participating shelters, or send your finished items to their headquarters. Several patterns are available on this site too.
I hope you found an inspirational charity on this list that speaks to your heart and that fills your desire to knit or crochet or craft for someone else. If you know of other organizations to add to this list, feel free to let me know with a comment below.