November is a month of gratitude; we thank our Veterans, we give thanks to all we have on Thanksgiving, and the changing of the weather brings out the charitable souls within us. In addition to volunteering, there are several places where knitters can get their yarn on and donate projects to good causes, both at this time of year and all year round.
Mother Bear Project: The Mother Bear Project is an organization dedicated to bringing hope to children in Africa who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. These bears use a small enough amount of yarn where you can use scraps from your stash, and to date, over 81,000 bears have been donated. There is an option to purchase both a flat knitted pattern and a seamless, in-the-round pattern, and bears can be dressed however the knitter prefers. Knitche in Downers Grove and Knot Just Knits in Oak Park are both drop-off locations for finished bears. Please remember to leave three dollars per donated bear to defray the costs of shipping them to Africa.
Red Scarf Project: Foster Care 2 Success helps to transition children who have aged out of foster care, and their Red Scarf Project is an excellent way to make a child feel more at ease during his or her first year of college. While the Red Scarf Project does not typically have publicized drop-off points, they do accept donations of red scarves through December 15th, and joining a charity knitting group would be a great way to get motivation to hit the impending deadline. Elemental Yarns in Shorewood has a charity knitting group which meets monthly, and the store accepts donations to send all at once based on the chosen charity per quarter.
Halos of Hope: Chicago-area-based organization Halos of Hope provides chemo caps to basically anyone in need of one, free of charge, who is going through treatment for cancer. While this is a year-round organization, knitted hats are great projects to knit quickly, so they are excellent “in between” projects if you are doing hard-core knitting for the holidays. Their mailing address is in Arlington Heights, and the organization accepts any number of caps with no minimum. There are also several drop-off locations in the Chicago area, including Esther’s Place in Big Rock, Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns in Arlington Heights, the Glenview Senior Center, Knit Happens in Buffalo Grove, Loopy Yarns, Mia Bella Yarns in Highland Park, Montoya Fiber Studio in Evanston, and Sister Arts Studio in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
SoulScarves: The Grace Episcopal Church, located in the Printer’s Row neighborhood in Chicago, collects winter-accessory donations every year for their GracePlace breakfast patrons. The vast majority of recipients of these hand-knitted donations are men, but all winter-accessory projects are accepted, including gloves and mittens. Loopy Yarns, their neighbor local yarn shop in the South Loop, offers a 10% discount on yarns purchased for this particular project, and finished items can be dropped off at Loopy Yarns for them to bring to the church as well.
For other suggestions on donating your knits, ask your local church, local yarn shop, or local YMCA for what organizations they support. While winter is coming and holiday shopping is about to be upon us, charity knitting is an excellent break from the season and it does nothing but good for both the donor and the recipient.