The weather’s getting colder, and everyone loves a good warm blanket or pair of mittens. What about those people, though, who don’t have the resources to stay warm? Or what about the people who are going through a difficult time and would appreciate a handmade gift? For a little of your time and money, here’s some crafty ideas for how and where you can give back to the community.
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti, only blocks away from Eastern Michigan University, has a program called “Bundles of Love” that works to make cancer caps, preemie hats (you can knit or crochet one in less than an hour, or stitch one up in soft jersey fabric in a matter of minutes) and lap blankets for wheelchair patients.
If you knit or crochet, get ideas and free patterns by signing up for an account on Ravelry.com, where you can also join online groups for more opportunities to give back with your hobby. Stylish hats for cancer patients are always wonderful, especially made up in soft, lux yarns and fabrics. You can find natural, affordable yarn online at knitpicks.com.
If you’re an animal lover, the Michigan Humane Society website features instructions for how to make the no-sew fleece blankets they need for rescue cats and kittens. It only takes one yard of fabric to make two blankets, bringing the price to about $4 each – not bad to bring a little coziness to a needy animal’s nights.
Warmth for Warriors is a Michigan-based organization providing hand knit or crochets hats to both active duty and retired military personnel overseas, in hospitals and in America. They’ve been given more 32,000 hats to date and include a poem and often the name of the person who made the hat with each donation.
The specific pattern is a simple ribbed cap that must be made in a natural fiber – one should take a weekend or two to complete. Find them and the pattern at warmthforwarriors.com/.
Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s Education Project for Homeless Youth helps Washtenaw-area homeless and foster kids with food, clothing and winter gear like scarves, gloves and mittens.
Since the program covers infants through 21-year-olds, every size is needed. Try easy-sew fleece, flannel or sweatshirt knit fabric infinity scarves that can be found at JoAnn’s, or knit or crochet chunky wool mittens. Find out more at wash.k12.mi.us/instruction/ephy.php#wishlist.
Family Life Services Clinic & Pregnancy Center located at 2950 Packard Rd. in Ypsilanti offers free ultrasounds and prenatal counseling to mothers in need as well as material goods like baby blankets and clothes. A flannel receiving blanket can be made in under an hour. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what’s currently needed.
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