There are so many ways crocheters share their talents, and one of the most inspirational ways is through giving crocheted items to charity. There are charity organizations centered specifically around crochet items, and there are charity events that accept crochet items for their fundraising efforts.
In the past I've donated crochet items to benefits for cancer patients, local schools, and Special Olympics. Most recently, I spent the past weekend making a little doggy coat for the local animal welfare center silent auction! It's my first time crafting for an animal, and it was lots of fun!
There are many other worthy causes out there, benefiting dozens of different populations. If you are interested in crocheting for charity, here are some links to help you find a cause that matches your own interests and talents:
Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation - Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation focuses on specific needs of the many schools and social service organizations such as shelters, children's organizations, and clinics physically located on the reservation in South Dakota.
Afghans for Afghans - A humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.
Care Wear Volunteers - Care Wear is a nationwide group of volunteers who provide handmade baby items to hospitals. Volunteers who knit, crochet, and sew are invited to join the effort. (US and Canada)
Head Huggers - Head Huggers distributes caps to hospitals, oncology offices, hospices, etc. so that they can more readily be available to those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.
Knit- a- Square - Contributions of squares to this crochet and knitting project add to the many thousands of 8"/20cm squares from around the world, which are joined into blankets and distributed to orphans and abandoned children with AIDS in Africa.
Project Linus - Their mission is 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.”
Purple Stitch Project - Designer Vickie Howell founded this charity for people to knit, crochet, or sew purple (the epilepsy awareness color) gifts for kids with seizure disorders. These gifts will serve as a reminder that they are not alone — that they have community support.
This is by no means an exhaustive list! There are even more charities accepting donations listed at The Daily Crocheter, groups on Ravelry, a forum for giving on Crochetville, and don't forget about local families that have suffered fires, floods, and other tragedies, shelters for the homeless and animals, and school fundraisers. There are lots of opportunities to donate your time and talents if you are so inclined. And I always give permission to use my patterns for charity projects - as do most designers. If in doubt, just ask!
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