Whether you have a few extra minutes to spare or a lot of extra fabric to share, a little generosity goes a long way when it comes to sewing for charity. Read on to learn about about nine sewing charities working hard to help you put your sewing talents to great use.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles
A hospital stay can be a frightening and overwhelming experience for a child facing a life-changing illness or injury. Ryan’s Case for Smiles makes this difficult time a little less scary for children and their families by creating cheerful pillowcases to brighten their rooms and promote the mission of “helping kids feel better to heal better.” Find directions for making the pillowcases, locate the Ryan’s Case for Smiles chapter in your area and learn how to host your own pillowcase-making event at caseforsmiles.org.
Sharing the Weight
When Marci Prose’s son David received a weighted blanket after being diagnosed with autism, he was suddenly able to sleep peacefully through the night—something he hadn’t been able to do in his entire two and a half years of life. Theses specialty blankets are filled with nontoxic poly pellets that provide just enough weight to calm and soothe children and adults who suffer from a lack of sleep due to autism and other conditions associated with Sensory Processing Disorder stress. To date, Sharing the Weight has made and distributed more than 2,000 blankets to families in the United States and five foreign countries, but the waiting list for blankets continues to grow. If you have extra fabric and thread in your stash, you can help Sharing the Weight by donating. They accept any washable fabric of at least one half yard along with thread of any type. To find out more information on donating supplies, as well as instructions for constructing and donating finished blankets, visit sharingtheweight.org.
Sacred Sewing Room
The Sacred Sewing Room is an integral parts of the Enchanted Makeover organization. Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers has been creating environments for women and children in shelters that empower and open a path for creativity and self-expression. The organization transforms often sterile and impersonal spaces in women’s shelters and rescue missions into warm and inviting sanctuaries for the residents. Find out how you can help by donating sewing supplies and notions or a make a monetary contribution as sacredsewingroom.org.
Capes for Kids
Kids love playing dress up because a costume can spark their imagination and help them see themselves in a new way. This idea prompted Terry Stahl to start Capes for Kids, which is another important Enchanted Makeover program designed specifically to help kids staying in shelters feel special and find the superhero within. Visit enchantedmakeovers.org for more information and instructions. Note that Capes for Kids requests hook-and-loop tape rather than buttons for a kid-friendly cape closure.
Days for Girls
Days for Girls is fighting to reverse the cycle of poverty by providing sustainable feminine hygiene supplies, vital health knowledge and economic opportunities to girls and women in need. Because of cultural ideas or taboos around menstruation, many girls worldwide don’t have access to sanitary products, causing them to miss several days of school per month, face danger and isolation, and in some cases to drop out of school entirely. You can find a wealth of helpful instructions and guidance (including how-to videos) for sewing these items at daysforgirls.org, along with information on how to locate or start your own local Days for Girls volunteer team at daysforgirls.org.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Quilt to Remember
One of the most important goals of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Quilt to Remember is to bring awareness and visibility to the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The quilt is an ongoing project in which participants create large quilt panels that pay tribute to those who have passed or are living with the devastating effects of dementia. If you would like to make a panel for the quilt to honor a loved one, you can submit a Panel Maker Application at alzquilt.org. You’ll also find a schedule of the tour dates for viewing the quilt as it travels around the country.
The Pretty Pocket project is a simple and ingenious gift to sew for breast cancer patients, devised out of the necessity to help ease pain and discomfort post surgery. When Maryanne Arthur awoke from her breast cancer surgery in 2011, she found that she was flanked by two heavy drains on each side of her upper body. The bulbs of the drains were uncomfortable against her raw skin, so her partner Annmarie Merow quickly came up with a quick and effective solution. You can do your part to help by making Pretty Pockets to distribute to hospitals in your area. Find out more information about the project and download the quick and easy Pretty Pockets pattern at Maryanne’s website.
Dress a Girl Around the World
Dress a Girl Around the World is a campaign under Hope 4 Women International, a non-profit organization working to bring dignity and to women and girls at risk all over the world. The mission of the project is to provide every girl with at least one new dress. Dress a Girl Around the World partners with ambassadors all over the world who help distribute the dresses. You can get involved by sewing dresses or by making a donation. Head over to their site for lots of helpful information, including instructions and tutorials for sewing the dresses.
Operation First Response
Operation First Response is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping wounded veterans and their families. Among the many programs they organize in service to veterans is the OFR Backpack project. The OFR Backpacks are filled with vital supplies and comforting items and sent to combat support hospitals to give to wounded soldiers as they arrive without any personal belongings or suitable clothing. Learn more about Operation First Response and find out how you can help.
If you know of any sewing charities or organizations that need sewn items leave a comment in the section below.
By Beth Bradley