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Cool Craft Projects That Give Back

If you're going to DIY, then DIY to do some good for communities in need!

Sarah Burns · about 2 months ago

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If you’ve been bitten by the crafting bug, there’s a good chance you have more projects laying around than you know what to do with — and perhaps enough crafting supplies to open up your own shop (not that you could actually part with any of it). 

Fortunately, there are plenty of organizations that would love to benefit from your craftiness! Before sending anything to the organizations on this list, be sure to check with your local community boards, libraries, shelters and hospitals to see what their needs are, and what types of items they’ll accept — keeping donations local can have an enormous impact on your neighbors in need!

For Yarn Crafters of All Skill Levels

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Whether you’re picking up a set of needles for the very first time, or you’ve been keeping a collection of every size crochet hook ever made, your knitted or crocheted handiwork could do some serious good. (Keep in mind most organizations have requirements about what types of materials and projects they can accept, so make sure you check with their guidelines before diving into a new project.) Not sure what to make? Have a scroll through each charity’s pattern library for a selection of free patterns ranging from beginner to intermediate. 

The National World War II Museum’s “Knit Your Bit”

  • Every little bit helps, which is why the National World War II museum started the Knit Your Bit program. Volunteers collect, distribute, and donate hand-knit or crochet scarves to veterans in hospitals and community centers in neighborhoods coast to coast.

Project Linus

  • This Missouri-based non-for-profit has chapters all over the country, collecting and distributing quilts as well as knitted or crocheted blankets to those in need. Head to their Find a Chapter map to donate to your local Project Linus, or consider connecting with the community by becoming a volunteer.  

Warm Up America

  • Helping people fight off the cold for nearly thirty years, Warm Up America collects 7” x 9” rectangles to be sewn together as large, collaborative knit and crochet afghans. They also accept completed projects like blankets, hats, baby clothes, soap savers, wash cloths, and similar necessities.

For People Who *Sew* Know What to Do With Fabric

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Whip up something worthwhile with fabric, scissors, and sewing skills —  if ya got ’em. Even if you don’t, there are still plenty of new-to-sewing projects to make. Remember to check with each organization’s guidelines beforehand for fiber content recommendations! 

Snuggles Project

  • Wouldn’t it be great to be able to snuggle as many dogs and cats as possible? Too many of our furry friends arrive in shelters cold, scared, and never knowing a single comfort. The Snuggles Project works to provide animal shelters with blankets to give to the animals in their care to help make them feel more comfortable, and provide a sense of stability and calm. They even have a collection of simple no-sew patterns for those who love to work with fabric, but don’t love the possibility of accidentally sticking themselves with a sewing needle.

Sew Powerful’s Purse Project

  • If you’re looking for a fun sewing project that could literally change a kid's life, it’s time to put those cute fabrics you’ve been stashing to good use! Here’s the rundown: menstruating 7th graders in Zambia are missing a lot of school, because they don’t have any products for that time of the month. It’s a big deal because the 7th grade examples are considered pivotal. Failing means losing the opportunity to pursue higher levels of education, and as a result, there’s an enormous disparity in the education gap, and people with periods are getting left behind.

    Here’s where the Purse Project steps in; they offer the (very cute!) purse pattern on their website, you send them the completed purses, and they fill them with reusable menstrual hygiene products. It’s their mission to get these purse period-kits into the hands of as many people that need them as possible, because it can help change the course of higher education for the next generation.

Dolls of Hope

  • Toys aren’t all just fun and games; kids rely on them for comfort, use them to practice social skills, stretch the imagination, and build confidence. Unfortunately, many children are the victims of wars, flooding, or famine, and are forced to flee their homes with practically nothing. They arrive in refugee camps without any of the comforts of home — let alone anything to play with. 

    Dolls of Hope is trying to change that by providing dolls and teddy bears to kids in need in over 60 countries. The teddy bear pattern is free, the fabric and materials used are tax deductible, and the easy-to-sew-pattern is a great way to practice your sewing skills, while helping a kid find a new friend.