There’s something about crafters that tends to drive us to generosity. I might be our desire to see others enjoy the things we’ve made with our hands, or it might just be our constant need to down-size our stash, but most of us truly love giving things away. As cold weather sets in and our minds travel to all of the warm and fuzzy things we have put off making during the summer, it’s the perfect time to put that generous spirit into action.
Cold weather is harshest on those most in need. You might be able to address a physical need by creating warm clothing and blankets for children and families affected by poverty. Or you might address an emotional need by providing comforting objects to those who are alone over the holidays. There’s no limit to the ways your hobbies can help, and that can actually be intimidating. Here are some things to consider as you plan your crafty charitable contributions this Winter:
Not all charities are created equal:
You might have to do a little homework about your charity of choice if you’ve never worked with them before. Make sure your hand-made goods are getting to their intended recipients either by calling or visiting. At least make sure you are satisfied with the amount of detail and references they post if you find your charity through the internet or in print. Unfortunately, there are people who would take advantage even of kind hearts, so make sure your charity is legitimate.
Pick a cause you are passionate about:
Everyone has needs – but you can’t address them all. So choose a charity you feel connected to either because you have previous experience working with them or because you empathize deeply with what they are doing. You will have more luck sticking with your projects if it’s easy for you to keep in mind the people you are serving.
Choose your craft carefully:
If you know that you have a tendency to get frustrated when you don’t succeed right away, you probably need to choose a craft you are already good at. Learning how to cable and use circular needles all at once when you’ve been making K1, P1 scarves may not be realistic. On the other hand, if you know that trying new things spurs you on then by all means go for it! This might just be the perfect time to finally try out that new pattern you’ve been dreaming about. Either way, choose something you know you will stick to.
Don’t give up!
Find a way to keep yourself motivated. You might consider organizing a group online or at church or among your friends to join you in your project. A little accountability can go a long way, and you might have more fun if you can compare notes. If you are a person who plays well with others insofar as they leave you alone, or if you just don’t have the time to organize a group, make yourself a schedule. If you can multi-task, there are enough episodes of Heroes between now and Christmas to make an adorable baby blanket.
Consider serving locally:
Again, everyone has needs – even you. If you’ve been thinking to yourself lately, “I really should get out into the community more often” or “I really need to make some new friends around here who are interested in the same things as me,” connecting with local charitable organizations could be just the thing. You will not only have an actual place to associate your project with, you may even get to see directly how your giving impacts others. There are probably ways you can continue to help them throughout the year if you are interested, too.
The internet is an amazing resource as you know. Use it to track down charities and to find free patterns to craft with (or patterns to purchase that support other crafters). I’ve compiled a list here on Associated Content of some of the best cold weather charity related craft sites, and you can find it by clicking HERE.