Crochet and/or Knit for Charity

Submitted by Regev on Sun, 09/26/2021 - 19:57 CEST

There are plenty of charity organizations out there, that collect different hand made items for donations, each with their own personal agenda. Some are more known than others, but all united in their goal to help those in need and spread joy and love with crochet and knit items.

In my search for organizations to donate items to, I mainly came across the same names over and over again. I found several blog posts with lists of organizations, but they were all either US or UK based. Being a European and a content creator for a large international audience, I thought it would be a good idea to find some organizations which operate in other places as well, and introduce my viewers and readers to them.
A few years ago I started a project called "Secret Santa For Charity", where I asked different content creators on YouTube to join in and tell their viewers about their charity of choice. Sadly, this year this very special event will not take place, and so in attempt to replace it, I came up with today's topic.
So, if you're interested in crocheting or knitting for charity purposes and would like to get to know some organizations you may not have heard of before, you've come to the right place!

Knit-a-square is a world-wide community of crafters who address the massive humanitarian crisis of orphaned or vulnerable children and abandoned babies in Africa. They collect knitted and crocheted squares and put them together into blankets, which are then distributed to those in need. In addition, they accept other crocheted and knitted children's items, and you can find all the information about what to send and where to send it to on their website.
Did you know that there are a staggering 140 million children who have been made orphaned, vulnerable or abandoned in the world today because of disease, war and poverty? More than 40 million of these children live in southern Africa, and in dire poverty. Many of them are, themselves, affected by HIV, from which their parents have died. Some are as young as the age of 10, and head up families of their own younger siblings alone without any support. They lack so much that we might take for granted – love, shelter, food, education, and warmth.
Donating to Knit-a-square is as easy as 1-2-3; make a square, pack it according to their instructions, and ship it over! You can do it alone, or get your local craft group involved and work together. On their website, you will find plenty of patterns and instructions for knitted, loomed and crocheted squares which you can use, or you can come up with your own ideas according to their requires measurements.
You can also hear stories and see pictures of the distribution on their Facebook group, and see for yourself how the change is being made.

It is deeply sad to imagine a child becoming an orphan. Yet according to estimates from UNICEF, there are a staggering 140 million children worldwide who are orphaned or vulnerable.

Knit One Give One (KOGO)
Knit one give one, or KOGO, is an Australian base organization dedicated to providing hand crafted items of warmth and comfort to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the community. KOGO has community partner organizations all over Australia, to which they supply the donated items to distribute to those who need them.
They currently over 10,000 knitters and crocheters located all around Australia. However, the demand is always increasing and they are always in need for more crafting hands. On their website you will find a list of items they are currently collecting as well as a list of their drop-off locations. In addition, they offer free patterns for the items they need.
To honor the people who donate, KOGO holds a special event each year called "The Social Knitwork", providing their knitters and crocheters the opportunity to get together, eat, drink, meet the representatives of the partner organizations and hear stories about how their hand crafted items make a difference.

Knit For Syria
Knit for Syria is a program run by "Hand in Hand for Aid and Development" - a UK organization working on the ground in Syria’s hardest-hit areas to provide aid of all different kinds to those in need. Much of its focus is on helping Syrian communities to regain the skills, confidence and dignity to rebuild their own lives. 
It's been over 10 years since the humanitarian crisis in Syria began, and it still ongoing. An estimated 11.7 million civilians remain desperately vulnerable, struggling to survive.
The organization regularly transports hand knitted and crocheted items to Syria where they are distributed according to seasonal need. They collect items in all colors and sizes, but of course you have to ensure none of the items are a hazard to children.
On the HIHFAD website you will find an updated list of items which are currently on demand, and if you can't send in knitted of crocheted donations, you can look up how to donate in other ways.

The Innocent Big Knit
Here is a different kind of knitting and crocheting for charity. I must admit, this project is one of my favorites, because it is a great example of thinking out of the box.
Innocent Drinks is a European company that produces smoothies and juice sold in supermarkets, coffee shops and various other outlets. They started small back in 1999, but now they sell more than two million smoothies per week. In 2003, they started dressing some of their bottles in knitted hats and for every bottle sold with a hat the company donated 25p (0.29 Euro or 0.34 US Dollar) to Age UK, a leading British charity organization, which provides care of different kinds to elderly people.
The woolly masterpieces covering the bottle caps are knitted and crocheted by thousands of volunteers. Anyone can get involved, whether you’re a pro or a novice, and the company provides details on its website such as requirements as well as patterns for the kind of bottle hats they need. They even have a "hall of fame" style gallery, commemorating some of the most memorable and unique hats.
In addition, people who buy the bottles with hats on them use them for all sort of things and post pictures online. From Christmas decorations to pet hamster hat - people are being very creative in finding what to do with these small hats. An, if you really don't know what to do with them, the company lets you send the hats back to be reused, and so more money can be raised with them.

Octopus For A Preemie
We all know how dangerous a preterm birth is for babies. The weight of most of them is around 500g, and it means their systems are not fully developed. Feeling the closeness of parents has a significant effect on their baby’s recovery and growth. However, parents are not able to hold their children close to their body all the time, and here is where the octopi come in very handy! They make babies and their parents feel calmer and safer. The babies play with their tentacles as if it is the umbilical cord. It makes them feel safe and reminds them of the known surrounding of their mother's womb.
This charity project first started in Denmark and then extended to Spain, Ukraine, Poland, UK and slowly, it has taken roots all over the globe.
Since each country has different rules and regulations as to what can be allowed into a hospital's nursery, there is no one main website or home for this charity. However, you can search the web (specifically Facebook) to find "Octopus For A Preemie" in your country and find out how to join in.
There are plenty of patterns out there for these octopi, and you can even find video tutorials in different languages on how to crochet them. Naturally, because they end up in a hospital's nursery, they are not allowed to have any parts which can easily break off amd/or endanger the newborns.
These octopi are always very well received by babies and parents alike, and very often they stay with them after leaving the hospital, becoming one of the child's most cherished toys.

Crochet Octopus on its way to a newborn - complete with care and use instructions

The Little Yellow Duck Project 
The Little Yellow Duck Project involves people around the world handcrafting little yellow duck gifts as random acts of kindness that are left in public places for others to find. Each duck gift aims to spread a little happiness to its recipient and a little awareness of how we can each help saving or transforming the lives of others through blood, bone marrow, organ or tissue donation. A special tag on each one of the ducks invites the finder to take their gift home to brighten their day and to visit The Little Yellow Duck Project's website to register where they found their gift.
On the website, along with information about the project, how it started and what its purpose is, you can find a world map with all the places around the globe where ducks were found by different people. The map updates every 24 hours, so it is always up to date. This way, in addition to tracking your own duck and seeing who found it, you can also see how many other people are takin part in promoting this important cause around the world.
What's really nice about this organization is that you can join in no matter where you live! You don't need to send your ducks anywhere, there is no sorting and distributing process, just make them, tag them and leave them in all kinds of places around your town. Patterns and tags to print out are found on the website in a large verity of languages, so it is easy-peasy to get involved, no matter where in the world you are!

Get involved no matter where you live - The Little Yellow Duck Project

The Peyton Heart Project
Much like The Little Yellow Duck Project, this is an initiative based on people leaving little gifts in random places with tags on them to raise awareness for an important cause. In this case, the cause is to help end suicide, bullying and the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
The Peyton Heart Project was inspired by several stories including that of a 13-year-old boy named Peyton James who died by suicide in 2014. During his young life he had experienced a tremendous amount of bullying by his peers. Far too often bullying leads to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Sometimes these issues can increase the likelihood of suicide.
This project involves people all over the world making little hearts, attaching information tags to them, and leaving them in public places for others to find, in hope that the hearts cause people to stop for a moment and reflect on a life lost to suicide, on bullying and on the fact that everyone’s life matters.
Here too, people are encouraged to post pictures on social media of the hearts they found. The activity on social media helps reach even more people, and also lets the maker see that their little crocheted heart reached someone and touched their heart.
The Peyton Heart Project also takes part in many public events, trying to reach teens and children who might be in need for help and show them that their life matters, encouraging them to seek help and comfort rather than an escape. On these events they also distribute the little hearts, so if you wish to send yours in to help this way, you can do that too.
Patterns, instructions on how to make the hearts correctly and printable tags can be found on the website, along with information on where to send your heart to if you wish to do so instead of leaving them around your area.

Your life matters - The Peyton Heart Project

I hope this list was helpful to you, and that it helped you find and get to know some charity organizations you may not have heard of before. Taking something you love doing, such as crocheting or knitting, and using it to make an actual meaningful change in someone else's life is probably the best thing you can do as a crafter. So go on, spread some love and make someone smile, I promise you that your heart will spread in the process too.

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