Sewing with Purpose - Donate to a Non-profit

As sewists, quilters, and knitters, it is in our DNA to make things for others. I have never met a quilter or knitter who has not made several pieces to give as gifts to friends for birthdays, baby showers, church raffles, or just because she was using up the last bits and pieces from another project. Here is a list of organizations that welcome homemade donations throughout the year. Set aside an afternoon for creating blankets with the kids or grandkids to donate to children in crises or animals in shelters. Not only will you be doing a good deed and charitable work, but you will be instilling this trait in the next generation. When you find yourself at home during a snowstorm or monsoon, go through your stash and sew up some cheerful walker caddies and wheelchair totes for nursing homes. Knit some hats, scarves, and mittens for the homeless, or for school children who are ill-prepared for winter. Quilt a blanket for a retired veteran or a wounded service member in a combat hospital. Sew a cross-body bag that will be filled with reusable feminine hygiene pads and soap for a girl across the world so she doesn’t have to miss school each month. It is so important that we not only give thanks for all that we have in our lives, but that we also take care of those who have lost so much or are struggling because of illness, abuse, or poverty.

For over ten years, Vogue Fabrics has been a drop-off point for our local chapter of Project Linus. Named for the blanket-wielding Peanuts character, this organization collects blankets for children in crises from illness or abuse. They have delivered over 9 million blankets in less than 30 years. You too can become a “blanketeer.” This 501(c)(3) charity “provides handmade blankets to children 0-18 in the United States who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.” Project Linus has chapters in each state, provides patterns and ideas, organizes special events, and also accepts donations of materials for their chapter events.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles collects homemade pillowcases for donation to kids in the hospital who are grappling with illness and trauma. Case for Smiles also provides resources and support for the parents and siblings of the ill child. Download the free step-by-step instructions for sewing a pillowcase, which only takes ¾ yard of a bright print and ¼ yard for the border. How many pillowcases could you sew from the fabrics that are already in your stash? How many smiles would that bring to kids in the hospital?  501(c)(3) organization
Nearly 1 in 7 babies US are born into poverty. Newborns In Need provides kits filled with diapers and wipes, thermometers, baby wash, and sleepers, among other essential items. “Talented hands create warm blankets, afghans, and quilts to fill the kits, lovingly created by Newborns in Need volunteers.” Their resource page provides patterns for sewing, knitting, and crocheting everything from baby hats and snuggle cocoons to keep newborns warm, to blankets, burp cloths, bibs, and footies. 501(c)(3) organization
This off-shoot of provides comfort blankets to animals in shelters. A snuggle in a soft blanket goes a long way to helping an animal cope with the reality of living in a cage at a shelter. They even have a page for creating comfort blankets called Snuggles that help calm pets while providing them with a soft base for sleeping. Some animals are burrowers by nature, and Snuggles provide the perfect place to hunker down. These wonderful blankets also help brighten the shelter, giving it a more homey look, which makes a difference to visitors searching for their next family pet. On the Snuggles web page, you will find  instructions for making three sizes of  blankets that can be sewn, quilted, knit, or crocheted.

“A quilt of Valor® is our award to Service Members and Veterans who have been touched by war.  It says, ‘thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.’” They request high-quality 100% cotton fabric appropriate for adults, and they provide block patterns to get you started. Their LongArmy Volunteers provide free long-arm quilting for blanket tops to QOVF Members in good standing. These quilts go to specific service members who have been nominated and are awaiting their Quilt award.  501(c)(3) organization
A similar group, Quilts of Honor, was founded by Vietnam Veteran Gail Belmont. Their “Quilted Hugs of Gratitude” are given to specific military Veterans who have requested to be, or have been nominated as recipients. A Quilt of Honor label is provided to each volunteer to include on the finished blanket.  501(c)(3) organization

Operation First Response focuses on wounded and disabled service members, providing financial assistance. They also have a program called Operation First Response Backpacks, providing backpacks full of items to the wounded service members in combat support hospitals who arrived with no personal belongings. Sewn or quilted blankets are always needed and welcomed, sized 45x45 or 36x36 for the hospital cots (larger-sized blankets are accepted, but hand-delivered to military medical facilities in the States). 501(c)(3) organization.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States. Bernina Sewing Machines has a blog post dedicated to charitable sewing that includes links for turning an old sweater into a warm cowl, quilting a fleece scarf, turning t-shirts into scarves, as well as making hats and mittens.
Warm Up America! is a 501(c)(3) founded in 1991 for the purpose of providing knitted and crocheted clothing, blankets, hats, mittens, and scarves to the homeless and persons in need throughout the States. On their “Make” page, they provide links for patterns and yarns, how to assemble a pieced blanket, and what the current needs are. They even accept 7”x9” knit/crochet sections which are then joined together by volunteers. This is a fantastic way to use up the ends of soft, washable, acrylic yarns from your stash, as well as a fun way to teach kids how to knit/crochet while instilling in them the joy of doing good deeds to help others in need. provides stylish, homemade cross-body bags, purses, and feminine hygiene items to girls in Zambia so they don’t miss school during menstruation. In poor urban and remote villages in Zambia, there is a lack of affordable feminine products, so girls stay home rather than risk embarrassment. “Disposable products are not the solution because there is no garbage collection and the cost is an impossible barrier to overcome.” When girls fail to attend school regularly, they have a higher failure rate on their 7th grade exams, and become ineligible to move on to high school. This charity is popular with church groups in the USA.      

"These community service projects are not only fun to make, but they are also deeply appreciated by those who receive your special gift of comfort. Thread your needle for those in need." Sew a cheerful walker caddy or wheelchair tote to give to a nursing home, sew a hospital bed saddlebag, chemo turbans, and much more. This webpage provides links for ideas and instructions for makers to create items that are needed and appreciated.