If there is anything more gratifying than making something beautiful with your own hands, it is making something beautiful for someone in need. If you enjoy sewing and want to spend time doing for others, look into the large variety of charities that are eager to receive your hand made items.
Hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes and children’s charities all have needs that can be met by those of us knitting, crocheting, sewing and crafting at home. I have listed a handful of organizations and linked to their websites below. Please investigate any charitable organization personally prior to sending money or goods as donations.
Newborns in Need provides purchased and handmade items to families of ill, premature and stillborn babies. They try to help ease the stress for families and provide items that are hard to find like clothes to fit very small preemies. They also provide heirloom Christening gowns and wraps for stillborn babies
Little Dresses for Africa has a very simple pillow case dress pattern using ribbons for shoulder straps to help you quickly and easily make dresses for little girls in African countries who are living in poverty. You can also donate any dress following a simple pattern keeping in mind they do not easily have a way to replace buttons, snaps, hooks and zippers.
Project Linus provides handmade blankets to children in need. Blankets can be quilted, sewn, knitted or crocheted. You can even provide no-sew blankets made of fleece. This is a great option for kids or those with limited sewing experience.
The Pink Slipper Project provides handmade slippers to women and children living in shelters, many of whom have had to quickly leave their homes with few, if any, possessions. The slippers don’t have to be pink. They provide patterns for sewn, knitted and crocheted slippers. They have also begun to participate in other projects as the requests come in.
Wrap them in Love collects handmade quilts and distributes them to needy children around the world. They have been in operation for several years and offer galleries of photos of the quilts contributed each year. They accept quilts, quilt squares or fabric donations.
Warm Up America is an industry charity of the Craft Yarn Council of America. They collect hand crocheted and knitted afghans, hats, scarves and gloves to distribute to those in need. There are organized events and free patterns available for download.
Since 2005 Soldiers’ Angels have provided First Response Backpacks to the military hospitals that treat injured soldiers, both abroad and at home. They have provided more than 25,000 backpacks with a change of clothes, warm sweatshirt, toiletries and a phone calling card. Also included in each pack is a handmade Blanket of Hope.
The Sleeping Bag Project offers a pattern for making sleeping bags from fabrics recycled from clothing, scraps and other fabrics. It has a beautiful story behind the project and offers suggestions for providing these sleeping bags to those in need in your own community.
The Snuggles Project provides handmade blankets to animal shelters to help ease the stress of incoming animals making it easier for them to be handled. Their goal is to make shelters a more welcoming environment for the animals and for their prospective forever families.
These are just a small number of the organizations found on the web. You can check your local community if you want to be involved in something closer to home. There is always a need whether you want to help babies, the homeless, wounded veterans or traumatized animals.
If your desire to help is greater than the time you have to give, just set aside a little bit of time each week. Most of these organizations will accept what you have, when you have it. Every contribution counts.
If the cost of fabric and yarn is a bit much for your pocketbook, check garage sales, thrift stores, Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. You will be surprised what you can find. You can also check with local shops that carry fabric. They might offer a special price if the organization you are sewing for is a registered charity.
Please let us know if you already sew for an organization you would like for us to mention here and you don’t see it linked above. We would love to hear about your experiences and help promote your cause.
Product ideas that might help you along the way:
Rotary Cutter – I don’t know what I would do without my rotary cutter. This is not an expensive tool and is worth every penny, especially if you do a lot of cutting and have arthritis like I do. I was diagnosed at age 30 with Rheumatoid Arthritis and have difficulty using heavy sewing shears to cut fabric. My rotary cutter is a life saver and has seen me through many sewing projects.
Rotary Cutting Mat – This is an essential tool to use with your rotary cutter. It is great for use with other craft knives as well. This specially designed mat not only saves counters and table tops from damage, but helps protect your rotary and knife blades as well.
If you need a sewing machine to help you help others:
If you are new to buying a sewing machine, please check out our guide on buying sewing machines for those just starting out. If you have already bought that first sewing machine and are more interested in a specialty machine for home quilting, we have a buyer’s guide for you as well.
If you have a sewing machine you are no longer using consider a donation:
The Sewing Machine Project was founded for the purpose of collecting donations of sewing machines and distributing them to both adults and youths of communities that are impoverished or have been distressed by natural disaster. This way individuals can use or add to their sewing skills and create business opportunities that offer value and help to rebuild their communities.