Knitting for charity is a wonderful way to give back to your local, national or international community. All over the world, people are in need of warm clothing and blankets. Charity knitting organizations exist in every country, often in association with churches, yarn and wool stores, and women’s groups. Thousands of knitters knit squares for charity, delivering them to the requesting agency where they are arranged into blankets or afghans. Others are busy knitting hats for charity, to be worn by homeless adults or needy
children. Many hospitals request and accept tiny hand knits for preemies, the tiniest members of our communities who often can’t be clothed in healthy baby outfits – premature babies are just too small. Contributing knitted baby blankets, knitted toys and knit squares a wonderful way to use up one ball of leftover yarn.
While knitting for charity has been popular with the knitting community for years, the method of finding a charity to knit for has changed. Fifty or seventy-five years ago knitting ministries in church groups and ladies service groups were important sources of charity knitting items and often accepted yarn donations. In today’s world, looking online for charity knitting organizations is the route many knitters take when they are looking to donate hand knitted items.
As non-profit organizations come and go due to lack of funding, lack of interest, or lack of volunteers, it can be difficult to find an up-to-date list of groups requiring charity knitters and yarn donations. Here is a list of 6 Canadian charity knitting organizations and 5 American knitting organizations who are actively seeking donations and knitting as of February 2012.
Canadian Charity Knitting Organizations
- Blankets For Canada Society – Established in Lethbridge, Alberta, this organization makes blankets (knitted, crocheted, and quilted) for distribution across Canada. Please see the site for the dimensions required. This is the link to their website, but the Yahoo Group is where most of the updates appear. There are chapters across the country.
- Project Linus Canada Project Linus is an American-based International charity knitting organization with over 400 active chapters. Established in 1995, they have donated over 300,000 blankets to children in hospitals.
- GTA Warming Families There are chapters of Warming Families in Canada and the United States, and this Canadian charity knitting organization is unique in that it began as an online initiative over 11 years ago. The GTA chapter distributes knitted items to shelters and groups in the Greater Toronto Area. Please see the About page of their site for a month-by-month schedule of knitting items needed.
- Casting Off The Cold Online -based in Markham, Ontario, but has a thriving online community that knits for charity.
- First Steps Canada A Canadian charity accepting hand-knitted hats, mittens, scarves and toques for children in North Korea.
- The Warm Hands Network This organization accepts donations of knitted items for distribution to various communities in need. Donations are photographed and put on their website (if desired) with the knitter getting credit. There are many drop-off locations for knitted contributions in Toronto and Ottawa; knitters in other parts of Canada please see the Contact Us page for info on mailing your contributions in.
American Charity Knitting Organizations
- Project Linus Named for the Peanuts character Linus who always carried a blanket, Project Linus collects and distributes blankets of all sizes to children in hospitals.
- Bob’s Blankie Brigade 2012 Challenge is to provide 500 blankets and quilts and 500 chemo and preemie caps
- The Humble Stitch 2012 Goal is to provide 750 knitted items to the homeless – accepting handknit and crocheted hats, mitts and scarves.
- Relief Share Based in Idaho, Relief Share specializes in providing handknitted preemie and tiny baby layettes and clothing. Visit their site for details on contributing baby cocoons and other much needed knitted items as well as yarn, fabric, and sewing and knitting supplies.
- Ravelry Charity Knitting Links Page – For registered members of Ravelry. (Note: it is free to join Ravelry and I strongly recommend it for all knitters!) This is a wonderful page with information on local, national and international charity knitting organizations.
If you know of any groups or projects that Canadian and American charity knitters can contribute too, please add them to the Comments section below. Knitting for a charity organization is a wonderful way to serve in your local, national and global community.