Saturday, August 04, 2007

On Knitting Charities

At Warm up Winchester there is a contest going on, where if we write about our favorite knitting charity in our knitting blog, we'll be entered into a drawing for 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon. Who am I to pass up the chance at free yarn?

Of course, no one really reads this knitting blog besides me thus far, but perhaps someday people will start reading it, and will come across this post, and will learn something about knitting charities.

Personally I don't have a favorite. I haven't been knitting for charity for that long, though I also haven't been knitting for that long. I learned how to knit during winter break of my freshman year of college, and I just graduated, so I've been knitting for a little over 3.5 years.

So I'll do a profile of the knitting charities I've donated to:

The very first knitted item I donated was a scarf for the annual OCP auction. It actually took me quite a while to finish it, but eventually I did. A friend of mine, J.S., was the person to win it. Actually, the bidding went between a few of my guy friends, and I was pretty touched that they all bid on it for me. This was when I first started knitting. It might not have been the first finished item, but it was the first donated (since I donated "a scarf" which whoever won would tell me what they wanted exactly.) My sophomore, junior, and senior years I donated kippot, again made to the specifications of whoever won them. Each year the OCP picks a different charity who they donate the proceeds of the auction to. Usually it's a Jewish charity who gives the money to poor people who need food.

Then there was the annual raffle for the Providence Hebrew Day School. I donated scarves to them my sophomore and junior years. This past year, unfortunately, I was very busy and was unable to knit them anything. But hopefully I'll be able to make them something for this coming year. The money for this event all goes to the Day School. I like being able to support the Orthodox community in Providence, since even though I never went to the day school, the community has been so wonderful in hosting me and making me feel welcome. I love my Shabbatot that I spend in RI. So they're very deserving of my knitted goods.

This then takes me to senior year. Around February or March I came upon this amazing group on livejournal called 3000 in 2007 a.k.a Crafting for a Cause. Their goal is to craft 3000 handmade items in the year 2007, since at that time 3000 American soldiers had died in Iraq. People could donate the items to whatever charity they wanted. I joined, and thus started my real journey into charity knitting.

In march I knitted a beret, which I donated to the Dulaan project.

Then I made 2 scarves for the Mary Read Memorial Knit-along. Mary Read was a student at Virginia Tech who died in the massacre. She was also a knitter. So in her memory we knitted fuzzy scarves to donate to elderly people. The knit-along isn't really going on anymore as far as I know, though obviously people can make fuzzy scarves in her memory and donate them to people.

I've made a square for Warm Up America, though I want to make a few before sending them in. Or at least another one. They assemble the squares into blankets and donate them to homeless people. Though in this case I'm sending the squares to someone who will turn them into blankets and send them in as such.

And then I went off to Israel and injured myself. Alas! But luckily I got better, and resumed my knitting, albeit with a newfound fear of crocheting kippot, since those can hurt.

Since my return to America and knitting/crocheting I have made 4 items for Warm up Winchester, and also a scarf for the East Bay Coalition for the homeless. My mom's women's club (the General Federation of Women's Clubs of RI/specifically Barrington in this case) is doing a scarf drive for them. So I made a scarf for her.

I also had a bunch of squares lying around that I crocheted into a small afghan which is going to a local animal shelter.

So it's hard to pick favorites. Crafting for a Cause/3000 in 2007 is my favorite community, but they themselves are not a charity so much as an organizing force that gets people to donate to different charities. Donating auction items is fun, because it feels good to have people pay money for your knitted goods, even if you don't get to keep that money. It gives you validation as an artist. The drive my mom is doing gets points for being easy to donate to, in that I can just give the items to my mom and not have to worry about mailing them. Of course, they only want washable items, so no fuzzy scarves for them. The Mary Read Knit-along was nice in that it felt like I could do something constructive after the tragedy of the massacre. Being a college student then, I think we all felt a connection to Virginia Tech when it happened. Warm up America squares are easy to make, and are good for getting rid of scrap yarn. And Warm up Winchester is small and new, and I feel like they can definitely use my items, and I'm definitely making a difference in their quest to have 100 items by the end of October.

But ultimately, I don't think it really matters where you donate to, as long as you're doing something good, and giving things to those who need them and can't otherwise get them.

In general, I like knitting for charity a lot more than just donating money. Perhaps it would be more economical to buy winter clothes for the charities rather than making them myself. But I really feel like I'm doing something when I can create it myself.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I think, Friends of Efrat is the best Jewish charity around. It simultaneously achieves major religious and political aims. I found it here samsonblinded.org/blog/the-best-jewish-charity.htm and donated that same day which is sort of unusual for me.