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“I sew and donate baby blankets to a hospital where I live. We're just up here for the summer, and I want to keep busy.”
While shopping in the fabric department
of a nearby big box store recently, I observed a quiet, comely
gray-haired woman buying several lengths of cutesy flannel prints.
Since I'm a social type, I asked this complete stranger if she was
sewing for her grandchildren. Her answer about donating baby blankets
made me smile soo big! I was just beginning to research about
donating handmade baby blankets! So I asked her how she became
involved. She replied that her church had a ministry that donated handmade
baby blankets to seriously ill children. My new stranger friend decided to
use her stitching talents to get involved.
You can too!
Several non-profit organizations accept donations of handmade baby blankets, as well as other baby-related items like caps and booties. I will share a list of these with you at the end of this article. However, since I was raised to believe that “charity begins at home,” my first emphasis is the numerous outlets for your time, materials, and talents that may exist in your own locale.
Hospitals often accept in-kind donations of baby blankets, especially if they have a neonatal intensive care unit. The blankets you make for these may be smaller-than-usual baby blankets because of the percentage of preemies they treat. Hospitals whose clientele are near or below the poverty line and possibly those near Native American reservations are good candidates for your blankets. These populations are noted for a higher preemie percentage as well. However, needy babies come in many sizes, and any hospital may accept your donated baby blankets!
Donate baby blankets to local pregnancy centers. Oftentimes, these centers are (under)staffed with volunteers, so your blankets will be an encouragement to those who minister as well as to those who receive.
Homeless shelters and local missions of any religion are worthy recipients of the knit, crochet, sewn, or no-sew baby blankets you donate. They often care for families who are experiencing difficult circumstances. Your handcrafted blankets help them to stay warm and may give them hope that they are not forgotten and their situation is temporary.
Call the local religious institutions or churches in your town to find out which of them have an outlet or ministry that would distribute your donated baby blankets. Often, church groups and committees have connections that can channel your baby blankets where they are needed, as my new stranger friend in the fabric department shared.
No matter where you decide to donate your baby blankets locally, keep in mind that you may just see your creations at the grocery store, park, or anywhere. If you do, just smile! If you must comment, say, “What a cute little blanket!” But please don't be offended if they say that their mom, sis, best friend, or whoever, made it for them. Allow them to save face and maintain their privacy.
Giving is its own reward. You don't need to take credit in order to gain self-affirmation. Just the fact that your made-with-love baby blanket is out there, being used by an innocent child, is satisfaction enough! :-)
Many not-for-profit organizations focus on distributing donated baby blankets, as well as other handcrafted baby items, to children who have experienced trauma or serious illness. I'll list several links here so that you can research to find the best fit for you. They not only need completed baby blankets, but you can donate materials to make them if that fits your lifestyle better. Their volunteers will use the items to construct handmade baby blankets. Plus, these organizations need volunteers to organize groups in areas that are under-served!
Here's a partial list to start your research:
If you have time to knit, crochet, sew, or quilt baby blankets for needy children, your efforts will be hugely appreciated! You can donate in your own hometown or to a national organization. Also, you don't even have to make the blankets! Just donate the materials and another volunteer will construct the baby blanket! If everyone does something, then more innocent children and their families will be comforted, warmed, and encouraged. Be an inspiration!