Several years ago, we published a post about charities who accept donations of handmade goods - hats, gloves, baby clothes, etc. - and distribute them to adults and children who are in need. To date, this is still one of our most popular posts – so I decided that it was time to do an update!
I am currently in the middle of one of my annual charity knitting phases, which is why I decided that this was a good time to do the update. I recently pulled out a box of yarn leftovers – everything from 5g mini balls, to full random skeins of yarn that don’t yet have a purpose – and I have been busy combining colorways into multiple hats and vests (at last count I’m up to 3 vests, and 6 hats, with more on the way). I find this process really freeing, since you don’t have to work to any specific design – use a basic pattern for stich counts, and then go to town knitting up stripes, colourwork, or whatever you feel like doing. As long as the finished object is pleasing to you, someone else is sure to like it as well!
Here is an updated list of local charities that are currently in need of hand-knit items. Before making something to donate, we ask that you please take note of each group’s specific guidelines for what they can accept. Certain organizations can only use pure synthetic yarns, while others really want your 100% wool and animal fibre yarns. I have done my best to list information that is as up-to-date as possible, however, the needs of each group may change over time. Please explore the websites of your intended recipients and reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns about what to donate. We all know how much time and effort goes into making knit and crocheted items, so it only makes sense to spend a little extra time to ensure that it will be put to good use once donated!
Caring Hearts for Underprivileged Children Society: Based in Burnaby, BC, Caring Hearts is a group of volunteers that collects and distributes blankets, quilts, and children’s clothing to schools and community groups across the Lower Mainland. Their current needs include baby layettes, blankets (minimum size 30” x 36”), sweaters, mitts, slippers, and toques, all sized for kids from newborn to age 12. Please use yarns that are soft to the touch, and machine washable and dryable (synthetic yarns are best!).
For their current list of needs, please visit the Caring Hearts website. You can contact them directly to arrange for pick up of your items. Caring Hearts may also accept donations of new and unused synthetic yarns which can be knit up by their volunteers. Please contact them to discuss your donation.
Click for Babies!: This is an annual, international campaign that is locally coordinated by the BC Children’s Hospital and Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC. Knitters and crocheters are asked to make purple baby hats, which are then distributed to parents as a means of educating them about The Period of Purple Crying.
We collect the purple hats throughout the summer and pass them on to the Vancouver Children's Hospital at the end of September. Because these hats are for 1-2 day old babies, there are a number of specific requirements that must be followed - please read the purple hat guidelines to ensure that your hats will be useful to the program. The most important things to remember are to use soft, washable, baby-friendly yarns; to make the hats 13” -15” in circumference; and to make them at least 50% purple in colour. Do not attach and decorations or ties that could become a choking hazard.
Warm Hands Network: Based in Ottawa, Ontario, this groups sends warm, hand-knit and -crocheted clothing to children and families in Northern Canada. Throughout the year, they collect handmade hats, neckwarmers, mittens, socks, sweaters, vests, and other warm items, and ship them north in January and September. This organization wants items made with 100% wool or wool-blend yarns, since these are much better at keeping out the chill. Blankets made with washable yarns are also appreciated.
Project Linus: If you prefer to make blankets and afghans rather than fiddle with smaller items, consider donating to Project Linus. This organization collects handmade blankets (knit, crochet, and sewn) and distributes them to seriously ill and traumatized children from ages 0 – 17. There are specific guidelines for the size of blankets for each age range, but they can essentially be anywhere from 20” (50cm) square preemie blankets, up to 40” x 70” (100cm x 180cm) afghans for older teens. Please use soft yarns that are made of synthetic fibres (ie: acrylic), and use bright, cheerful colours. All blankets should be new, and free of smells and pet fibres.
There are local chapters of Project Linus in Maple Ridge, New Westminster, and North Delta, as well as on Vancouver Island – please check with your local chapter to see which size(s) of blankets they are currently collecting.
If you don't have time to knit, but would like to donate knitting and crochet supplies (needles and yarn), there are a few options to consider. Please contact these groups directly to arrange your donation, and please take the time to make sure that any yarn you donate is clean, in like-new condition, and free of pests like moths or fleas.
The Vancouver Knitters' Guild - yarn donations are passed on to members who knit it into items for various charity groups, including the Guilds' annual fundraising sales. The Guild does not have much storage space, so please contact them directly to arrange your donation.
The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre often accepts donations of yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks. These items are used by the women who attend their drop-in programs and stay in the shelters. Please contact them to ensure that they are currently accepting craft supplies, and to arrange the timing of your drop off. More information is available on their website.