Alanna was born September
18, 2000, two months early. She weighed 4 lbs
7.6 oz, with kidneys twelve times too large
and under developed lungs. An hour and
a half later, Alanna could no longer fight for
her life. The nurses dressed Alanna and
brought her back to her mother. She looked
at her for one last time, a picture she will
Alanna's mother was deeply touched by the
gesture of Newborns in Need, an organization
that provides clothing and blankets for
babies who are premature or born into poverty.
In such tragic times, families gain hope
from seeing their babies in clothing and
are comforted by knowing people care.
Knitting for charity is the most rewarding
form of knitting. It benefits both the knitter
and the recipient. While you may not be
a doctor who can give medical care to the
sick, providing comfort and hope is an amazing
Below is a list of charities to help you
start your search. Please visit their websites
for more information, guidelines, free patterns
and to find a chapter near you.
Newborns in Need
According to Newborns in Need, one out of
every four babies in the United States is
born into poverty. A large portion of the
5 million children living at or below poverty
level are newborns and premature infants.
Newborns in Need gives blankets, gowns, hats,
booties and other items to hospitals and homeless
shelters for these babies. They also provide
burial clothes for babies who lose their struggle
for life. Visit their website.
For a similar charity in Canada, see Angel
Cubs for Kids
Cubs for Kids collects little sweaters,
hats and scarves for teddy bears.
All clothes are sent to New York where the
bears are dressed and wrapped (Cubs for
Kids provides the bears). Once a year, the
bears are delivered to homeless shelters
in various cities and given to children
who are less fortunate. These bears are
something the children treasure forever. Visit
http://www.cubsforkids.com/ for details.
A similar charity in Canada is Care
& Cuddles International, and in
Stitch in Time
A Stitch in Time takes its name from an old
proverb that states it is best to deal with
a problem before it becomes worse. This is the
philosophy behind a new vocational program in
Plainville, Connecticut. At-risk and disadvantaged
teenagers are given the opportunity to operate
an online/mail order yarn shop and retail knitting
business. The teenagers learn business skills
and are aided in career planning with an emphasis
on further education. A Stitch in Time accepts
donations in the form of money, yarn and newly
knitted items. Knitted items will be sold in
the shop. For more information visit their website.
Project Linus gives blankets to boys and
girls ages 0-19 who are seriously ill, traumatized
or otherwise in need. They accept
knit, crocheted, quilted and fleece blankets
in all sizes. Blankets must be new (which
includes being made from new materials),
washable and handmade. Blankets provide
security and comfort when children undergo
medical treatment, a place to bury their
heads and cry when they lose a loved one
and familiarity when moved from one shelter
to another. For more information and
to find a chapter near you, visit their website. Chapters
in Canada are here and for the United
ChemoCaps was started in memory of Heather
Spoll who, at 25, lost her life to cancer.
The hats are given to cancer patients in
hospital oncology units and hospice programs.
These hats not only comfort the patients'
heads, but also their hearts, to know someone
cared enough to knit for them. ChemoCaps
asks that the hats be knit in soft yarn
and appealing colors. If you would like
to knit a hat in memory of a loved one or
simply because you want to help, visit http://www.chemocaps.com.
In Canada a similar charity is Hats
Off to Chemo.
The mission of Warming Families is to collect
blankets and other warm garments.
The items are then delivered to the homeless
and displaced at homeless shelters, domestic
violence shelters and nursing homes. Warming
Families works to strengthen families through
the love and generosity of others, since
strong families often have a greater determination
to meet the challenges before them. Items
must be new and can be either bought or
handmade. Your donation can be delivered
to an Area Volunteer, or you can deliver
the items yourself to local shelters. For
more information visit http://www.warmingfamilies.org.
If you are unable to find a local chapter of
the charity you want to volunteer for, consider
starting your own chapter. Or contact hospitals
and shelters in your area and tell them you would
like to help.
The two most important details to remember when
knitting for charity are to take pride in your
work and follow the charity's guidelines. If you
would be proud to wear the item yourself or give
it to a friend, then it is good enough to give
to a charity. If you're too embarrassed
to admit you made it, then don't donate it at
Secondly, following the guidelines of the charity
is crucial. If only new items are accepted, then
don't donate your child's old blanket, no matter
how gently used it is. If they ask for items to
not be made in wool, then don't make something
in wool. These guidelines have been created
for a reason. Most charities are run by volunteers.
Don't create more work for them by not following
Also consider the colors you use for making the
items. Soft or bright, fun colors for children's
items -- attractive colors for adults. Finally,
make sure your items are clean before donating.
If you have animals or you smoke, check that they
don't smell or are covered in animal hair. These
smells can be fatal to newborns and preemies.
Yvonne Surrette expressed the significance
of knitting for others so well in her essay
Knitting Faith in the Future published
in the Spring 2003 issue of Family Circle
Easy Knitting:"When you knit for someone
else, you are doing more than expressing your
love. You are declaring a tremendous hope and
optimism in the future. All of my own knitting
over the years has been with expectation that
my creations will be worn for years to come."