My grandma’s house was always full of little hats. They’re absolutely tiny, but my parents assured me that, once, a long time ago, I was small enough that such a hat would be appropriate.
She knit thousands of baby hats over the years. I still have the one she knit for me, roughly the size of the palm of my hand.
Handmade things have an extra-special quality to those in need. In addition to providing warmth and cheer, handmade items show personalized care. If you know how to sew, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, there are people (and animals, as you’ll see later!) that will benefit from your sewing super powers. Or your knitting superpowers, like my grandma!
Below is a list of 28 options for those looking to sew for charities and good causes. Keep reading and find something that speaks to you…
Sew for Charities that Help Babies
Newborns in Need looks to help needy babies. While some new mothers are blessed with baby showers and gifts for their new baby, some moms are not so fortunate. Newborns in Need is dedicated to making sure that “the teen mom, the stressed family, and the mother overwhelmed in sadness is supported in the first moments of the child’s life.” They are looking for help in creating baby clothes (always so cute) to fulfill their mission.
You can create hats, blankets, diapers and baby clothes that will be given to moms in need, typically after they’ve arrived home with their baby. If this cause speaks to you, find more information here.
Care Wear Volunteers know that babies within hospitals need some extra love (and warmth) too! Care Wear is nationwide group of volunteers who knit, crochet and/or sew, providing handmade baby items directly to hospitals. These items are distributed by hospital staff (free!) to infants, children and their parents. Care Wear has been around since 1991 and has donated tens of thousands of items to hospitals across the country.
Their website has patterns and instructions for you to help.
Sew for Charities that Comfort Kids
Project Linus is on a mission to provide “love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort” to children who are seriously ill or traumatized. They do this by gifting new, homemade blankets and afghans. Since 1995, they have created and donated over 6,348,338 blankets to those in need. If you are interested in joining their group of “blanketeers”, look here for details and patterns to help you.
Little Lambs Foundation for Kids provides “comfort kits” to kids from ages newborn to 17-years transitioning into foster care, emergency shelter, or who have been hospitalized. Children are often “removed from their home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and if they are able to take anything with them, they carry their precious belongings in a black trash bag.” Little Lambs provides comfort bags for these kids to call their own, and show that their community loves them.
They need help from sewers to create handmade totes, hats, baby bibs, burping rags, coloring bags, pillowcases, no-sew blankets, stuffed animals and fleece mittens. This is not only a great opportunity to create something to help children in need, but to also use up scrap fabrics. Get more information here.
Looking for a challenge? The One Million Pillowcase Challenge has partnered with charities across the US to donate one million pillowcases. Similar to the other charities on the list, pillowcases (especially cheerfully decorated ones) can bring comfort to those in need. You can either join a local retailer, or fly solo and find a local charity that would benefit. Either way, don’t forget to update the pillowcase counter on their main page! It’s currently at 714,830… will you help them reach their goal? Details on how to help here. They even have instructions for kids to help!
Sew for Charities that Help Those with Alzheimers
Alzheimer’s can be very difficult for both the patient and their loved ones. One way that you can help sooth the ‘agitated fidgeting’ of those with dementia is with an “Alzheimer’s Apron,” also called activity aids or mats. These aprons are easy-to-sew and help the user focus their attention, exercise hand muscles, and lifts their spirits. This is a great project for beginner sewists and can also provide some them some practice in sewing on zippers and embellishments.
Each apron is different, but the idea is that a person can put an apron on and have easy access to a variety of activities, trinkets and charms that will engage their minds. Get more information from Nancy Zieman’s blog, or from Alzheimers.net.
Sew for Charities that Help Girls in Poverty
Dress a Girl Around the World is a campaign under Hope 4 Women International, a non-denominational Christian 501(c)3 that dreams of a world “where every girl has at least one new dress” and know that “they are worthy of respect.” They need people to help sew beautiful, sturdy garments for girls around the globe, in any of 82 countries. Be sure that you follow the guidelines on their website.
Days for Girls is an organization that makes sure that girls have access to proper feminine hygiene. This is something that most people take for granted. But for some, it’s the difference between staying in school and pursuing opportunity, or dropping out. They need help sewing DfG washable feminine hygiene kits that will solve this problem for a girl or woman for up to 3 years and can literally change the course of their life. You can either sew on your own, or find (or start!) a chapter in your town. More information available here.
Sew for Our Troops
Operation Care Packages has a number of ways to support active military personnel. If you want to help by sewing, they’re looking for help with drawstring bags (details available halfway down the page here). They also are looking for “cool scarves, travel pillows, and back & neck warmers”. More details and contact info on their “How You Can Help” page.
Another option is Soldier’s Angels. They have a sewing and crafting team that provide “lovingly created handmade pieces of comfort and support to veterans, deployed service members and their families.” They appreciate help from beginners and experts alike, even offering a no-sew blanket option. A veteran wrote:
“Just wanted to pass on a note of appreciation for all the great work you do for us. I’m here at the LRMC Wounded Warrior unit, with my SA flannel blanket and pillow case. Makes my bed my own! I have to tell you, the first few days I was here, there wasn’t a pillowcase to be found, problem with the linen service. Thankfully, the SA pillow cases arrived, and were all snatched up that day.” – Wounded Warrior
Get involved here.
For veterans who have been injured in combat, normal clothing often doesn’t fit right. The mission of Sew Much Comfort is to provide free “adaptive” (velcro closures) clothing to support wounded service men and women. Many injures result in prosthetics or casts that are too bulky to fit under normal clothing. As a result, service members are limited to wearing hospital gowns during their (often lengthy) recovery. Sew Much Comfort adaptive clothing “allows them to wear normal looking adaptive clothing which enhances their comfort and dignity during their recovery process.” More info here.
Sew for Charities that Help Those with Cancer
Hospital stays can be a terrifying experience for a child, especially those with cancer or other terminal illnesses. Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) was founded in 2007 to comfort young patients around the globe. Their mission is to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases that give children “an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness.” They also provide web-based information for each member of the child’s family to help navigate a trying and potentially traumatizing time.
Sew for Animal Rescues
Hard to resist puppy eyes, right? By sewing for the Snuggles Project, you can help cute animals get adopted into loving homes. They have a variety of patterns for cats and dogs, with options for sew, no-sew, knit, and crochet projects. Your sewing donation will help animals feel calmer, making them easier to treat and train, and increasing their chances of finding an adoptive family. The Snuggles Project believes that sewers, knitters and crocheters have saved the lives of many newly-sheltered animals. Help out some cute creatures with patterns available here.
Quilt for Charity
For those who quilt, consider using your quilting skills for Quilts of Valor. Their mission is to thank military personnel for their “service, sacrifice and valor” by presenting them with a handmade quilt. They’ve awarded over 158,000 quilts so far. Some soldiers have noted that the quilts go beyond a thank-you and also provide comfort:
“As silly as it may sound for a soldier with over three years in Iraq and Afghanistan to say, that blanket became a true item of comfort and peace for the road ahead.”
If you want to help them, check out their “make a Quilt of Valor” page.
Quilts Beyond Borders sends comfort in the form of handmade quilts to orphans to spread “love and hope” around the world. A large number of their quilt recipients are children in who have lost their parents to AIDS. They need help creating quilts and quilt tops to provide warmth and comfort to kids. If you want to help, look here.
As a little kid, my mom would bring me to quilt auctions. MD Anderson, a cancer treatment center, started the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project to “educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer through the artistry of quilting.” They do this through events like their Online Quilt Auction, which is scheduled for October 25 – November 8, 2017. Every auction has raised about $50,000 for ovarian cancer research. A selection of donated quilts are also showcased at the International Quilt Festival every year.
If you’re a quilter, MD Anderson is looking for quilt contributions for their auction. Proceeds from your quilt will go to ovarian cancer research and education. Get more information here.
Save the Environment
Plastic bags can be a big problem for our environment, especially marine wildlife, which eat the bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. After the animal dies and decomposes around the plastic bag, it floats off.
Morsbags looks to solve this problem by providing cheap, cotton reusable bags. They’ve made nearly a quarter of a million bags so far. Each bag can potentially eliminate hundreds of plastic bags over its lifetime. They need help creating bags, so if you’re interested, learn more here.
Help the Homeless
My Brother’s Keeper Quilt Group makes good on their desire to help the homeless by making simple sleeping bags. These bags are made from recycled fabrics, and are distributed for free to those in need.
Their purpose is “to help the homeless be warm until they can be helped or healed by others in our society.” They need help creating sleeping bags, which use scrap fabrics (do you know anyone with too much scrap fabric? ;). Get more information and instructions here.
I hope that this post has helped you find a cause that speaks to you and a way for you to sew for charities that spread love and warmth to those who need it. Have I left any charities out? Are there any causes that you sew for? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. if you enjoyed this article, or support the organizations listed here, please share!