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Sewing for Charity - How to Get Involved and What You Can Make

sewing for charity

 

A number of articles have been written demonstrating the positive effects of crafting and creativity on mental health, aging, and psychological well-being.  How about doubling (or tripling) the benefits of crafting, and give the gift of a lovingly handmade item to someone in need?  Not only will your generous gift bring warmth and comfort to another person, but you will feel good while making the item AND you'll reap the physical and mental benefits of giving.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of organizations you can get involved with (mainly based in the United States).  However, there are many local groups and organizations that also need volunteers to help make and distribute handmade items.  Check your local hospitals, churches, veterans hospitals, cancer treatment centers, hospice centers, nursing homes, women's shelters, homeless shelters, and foster care services for more opportunities to put your sewing talents to good use in your own communities.  You can also search for local and nationwide volunteer sewing opportunities through VolunteerMatch.org.

If you'd like to support these groups but don't have the time, please consider giving a cash donation instead, to help them cover the costs of materials and shipping.

Do good for yourself.  Do good for others.

 

Charity Organization What They Do Charity Recipients What is Needed
Quilts for Kids Quilts for Kids is a nonprofit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of children who suffer from abuse or life-threatening illnesses. With the help of respected fabric manufacturers, generous volunteers, and donors, we transform high quality fabrics into patchwork quilts that offer comfort to children in need. Children

Quilts

Quilt kit available on request

Patterns available.

BlanketLovez
BlanketLovez™ is making quilts for sick kids one hug at a time :) We distribute hand-made quilts to seriously ill or traumatized children for ages 0-18, right across Australia Children Quilts
Quilts Beyond Borders
Quilts Beyond Borders reaches out to under-served children, mainly orphans, across the world to provide a handmade quilt and spread love and hope.
Children Quilts
Little Lambs Foundation for Kids
Little Lambs Foundation for Kids is a non profit 501(c)3 Organization who provides comfort kits to children ages newborn to 17 years old who are transitioning into foster care, emergency shelter or who have been hospitalized, by providing them with a little comfort in a bag
Children

Comfort kits, quilts, bibs, toys, towels, burp cloths, pillowcases

Patterns available.

Gracie's Gowns Gracie's Gowns is a non-profit organization that unique, customized hospital gowns for children battling cancer and other life-threatening conditions.  These gowns are only sewn locally by volunteers in Caroline County, VA, however, they have a full list of other sewing opportunities for NICU and Oncology/Hematology surprise boxes and care packages. Children NICU smocks, bandana bibs, nursing covers, sleep sacks, chemotherapy bag covers, headbands, face masks, pillowcases, port pillows, g-tube covers, and more.  Patterns available.
Project Linus
Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”
Children Blankets (quilt, knit, crochet).  Patterns available.
CareWear

Care Wear is a nationwide group of volunteers who provide handmade items to hospitals. Volunteers who knit, crochet, and sew are invited to join the effort.

Care Wear began in 1991 as a personal effort to provide much needed apparel for premature and low birthweight infants undergoing treatment in neonatal intensive care units of several children's hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area.

At the present time, Care Wear is an information source for prospective volunteers.  It is hoped that volunteers will contact local hospitals to learn what is needed.
Children and Adults

Hats, blankets, bibs, bereavement gowns, quilts, booties, pillows, dolls, walker caddies and more!  (Sew, knit and crochet)

Patterns available.

Newborns in Need
Newborns in Need, Inc. (NIN) is a 501(c) 3 charity organized to help take care of needy babies. NIN volunteers provide care necessities to agencies and hospitals serving premature, ill, or impoverished newborns. Newborns In Need distributes items free of charge to babies in the United States.
Newborns

Hats, toys, blankets, gowns, booties, and more.  (Sew, knit, and crochet)

Patterns available.
Case for Smiles
Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping kids feel better to heal better. While other great organizations focus on research and finding a cure, we work to improve the quality of life of children and their families as they undergo treatment. Our volunteers deliver more than 200,000 bright, cheerful pillowcases each year to children and their families in over 330 hospitals throughout our 120 chapters.
Children and Families

Pillowcases

Pattern available

1 Million Pillowcase Challenge
American Patchwork & Quilting is challenging quilters, sewers and crafters to help us reach our goal of donating one million pillowcases to local charities.  Many charities can benefit from the donation of a pillowcase and the challenge gives you the opportunity to donate and make a difference in your community.
Children, Veterans, Cancer patients, Homeless, Disaster victims, everyone!

Pillowcases, pillowcase dresses.

Patterns available.

Quilts of Valor

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

Veterans

Quilts in patriotic themes.

Patterns available.

Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project

The 2017 Online Quilt Auction will benefit the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Through innovative research, this program aims to develop effective screening methods and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer. 

Since the first Online Quilt Auction in 2008, the auction is now hosted every two years and yields over $50,000 in funds that benefit ovarian cancer research.

Cancer research Quilts donated for online auction
Parkinson's Comfort Project
The Parkinson's Comfort Project provides the beauty and warmth of of handmade quilts to people with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's patients Quilts
Medi Home Health and Hospice

Seeking people to sew, knit, or crochet items for hospice patients.  

The philosophy of our Hospice Care division is to give individuals and their families the true compassion, caring and support they deserve as they deal with a life-limiting illness. Hospice is about adding quality to life, and helping our patients live those days as they choose in the comfort of their home.

Elderly

Bibs, walker pockets, teddy bears, lap blankets, neck pillows.  (sew, knit, crochet)  

Patterns provided.

Sleeping Bag Project

My Brother’s Keeper Quilt Group is made up of individuals and groups desiring to help the homeless by making simple sleeping bags from recycled fabrics and distributing them FREE to those who need them.

Our only purpose is to help the homeless be warm until they can be helped or healed by others in our society. Can you help?

Homeless

Sleeping bags.

Pattern available.

PortPillows
Provides port pillows for all patients with ports, to make wearing seat belts more comfortable while riding cars.  Pillows are 100% free to patients, including shipping. Cancer patients

Port pillows.

Pattern available.

Dress a Girl Around the World

Dress a Girl Around the World is a Campaign under Hope 4 Women International (a 501 (c) 3 organization) bringing dignity to women around the world since 2006.  Hope 4 Women International is a nondenominational independent Christian organization.

We dream of a world in which every girl has at least one new dress.  We want girls to know that they are worthy and respected, and that they are loved by God.

Girls around the world

Dresses

Instructions available.

Days for Girls
Days for Girls International is a grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit. Women, and girls discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change and are given opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community's betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene. We are all about partnerships and joining hands. There are a lot of things in the world that are hard to change. This doesn't have to be one of them.  THIS we can change. Together.
Girls and women around the world

Kits, including drawstring bag, moisture barrier shield, trifold pads.

Instructions available.

Sew Powerful

We are working hard to link seamstresses from around the world to combat extreme poverty by provide re-usable feminine hygiene supplies and health training to girls in Zambia. This enables them to attend school all month and improve their academic performance.

You might wonder why we ask seamstresses from around the world to download our Sew Powerful Purse pattern, sew purses, and send them to us. The answer is simple. We need the help and support of the global sewing community to tackle this issue. We also need a beautiful product package, and what is more beautiful than amazing hand-made purses? So involving the western seamstresses accomplishes these two vitally important goals.

Girls in Zambia

Cross body purses.

(Next deadline is February 2017)

Pattern available.

Little Dresses for Africa

Little Dresses for Africa is a registered non-profit 501c3 Christian organization.  Our mission is to provide relief to vulnerable children throughout the Continent of Africa and beyond.

Because of the widespread AIDS pandemic, and other disease, little girls are often left to be the primary care givers of their young siblings. The road is especially tough for little girls and women. It is our hope that in delivering dresses to these young girls, that a seed will be planted in their hearts, in the name of Jesus, that they are worthy.

Girls in Africa

Pillowcase dresses.

Pattern available.

Snuggles Project
Snuggles are security blankets for shelter animals.  After being given a Snuggle, a frightened and/or difficult to handle animal is able to become calm. This calming effect gives the animal and the caregiver time to learn how to handle the situation. We believe that this calming effect has saved the lives of many newly-sheltered animals. Animals in shelters

Snuggles (sew, knit, crochet, no-sew), toys.

Patterns available.

Mors Bags
Sociable. Guerilla. Bagging. Encourage people to stop using plastic bags, which are killing marine wildlife, by sewing reusable Mors Bags and distributing them for free.   Environment

Reusable, recycled eco-friendly bags.

Pattern available.

Free Patterns for Commonly Needed Items

If you are interested in making specific items for charity, here is a list of freely available patterns for commonly needed items.  Many thanks to those who were generous enough to create and post these patterns.

Children Cancer Patients Elderly Animals
Teddy Bears Breast Cancer Pillows Wheelchair Bags Snuggles
Preemie Cuddler Seatbelt Covers Adult Bib Cage Comforters
Quilts Chemo Turbans Walker Caddies Catnip Pillows
Pillowcases Fidget Aprons