Charitable Nest-Feathering
September 7, 2012 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Are there any charities I could support whose goal is to give people kitchen linens and textiles?

So I knit a lot and I want to Do Good. But there are only so many hats or baby blankets you can knit. However - I have a lot of yarn that's good for things like dishcloths or kitchen towels or potholders, and was thinking of donating a whole lot of THOSE somewhere; some program that helps to re-house people who are homeless or something. Kind of like if Habitat For Humanity had a little "housewarmng" basket they stuck in each kitchen with a couple towels and a potholder or something, to start the new house off.

Does anyone do that, or does this exist only in my head? (....And if it does, I may be coming into "Projects" in a few months to start it.) Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What about contributing them to a charity yard sale? Those handknit dish towels are great, I'm sure they could sell them.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:59 AM on September 7, 2012

Crisis centers and battered women shelters could use washcloths and towels, I bet.
posted by agregoli at 6:02 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Broward County Cooperative Feeding program provides meals and hot showers. They accept donations of washcloths and toiletries. Folks who receive a washcloth keep it and are nearly always touched that someone took the time to make them an item.

If there is not such a program local to you, they would accept more!

Additionally, Sylvia's Place in NYC has several programs for LGBTQQ youth, many of whom are homeless/transitioning to their own apartments. They also accept such items.

Cotton can be awesome for kids toys (though I find knitting cotton tight enough is painful, many enjoy it), and would be well loved by kids in foster care. If toys aren't your deal either, washcloths are good there, too.

On preview, the suggestion for women's shelters has been made.
posted by bilabial at 6:06 AM on September 7, 2012

Just found another program that does what I had in mind, but that's in Indiana - Sylvia's Place would be closer. I'll reach out to them.

Thanks - leaving this up if anyone knows of any other groups.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 AM on September 7, 2012

And I just had a "duh" moment and thought of West End Residences, which is the parent organization for Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" home for homeless LGBT youth.

Okay, I got a couple ideas to run with now. If there's a national one I'd love to hear it too. Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:16 AM on September 7, 2012

Are you on Ravelry? There might be folks with more local-to-you suggestions in a group there.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:17 AM on September 7, 2012

Bailey House in NYC, which provides housing to people wih HIV and AIDS, could use items like that. I'm a longtime donor and can put you in touch with someone there if you want.
posted by bedhead at 6:43 AM on September 7, 2012

I have the book Knitting for Peace on my shelf. It has patterns and suggestions for places to donate knitted items. I don't have it on me at the moment, but here's the link to the Ravelry page for the book...

There's contact info and patterns for Prayer shawl ministries, Project Linus blankies for kids who are in police care (after a house fire or other emergency), preemie caps, even adopt-me blankets for dogs at the shelter. Most of the patterns are really easy, but I'm sure that Project Linus would not turn away an exceptionally beautiful blanket :-)
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:10 AM on September 7, 2012

There's contact info and patterns for Prayer shawl ministries, Project Linus blankies for kids who are in police care (after a house fire or other emergency), preemie caps, even adopt-me blankets for dogs at the shelter. Most of the patterns are really easy, but I'm sure that Project Linus would not turn away an exceptionally beautiful blanket :-)

Thanks, but I'm actually specifically looking for places to donate kitchen things, like potholders or aprons. I already know about project linus and already do that, I was looking for things that WEREN'T shawls or blankets.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 AM on September 7, 2012

You can also just create a little informal program at something local to you. It doesn't have to be an existing formal thing.

Call up a women's shelter and say something like "I would like to supply a housewarming gift containing x, y and z items to women moving from the emergency shelter into permanent housing. Approximately how many per month make that transition? How could I arrange to do that?"

Or call up a local place and ask if you can volunteer there a few hours some Saturday (or even a few times over the course of a month to get a better idea of what their needs are). Look around while you are there and see what they need. Come back later and say "I made these ten doohickies for your kitchen. Enjoy!"

Most not for profit programs are somewhat flexible and have relatively little control over what resources they have access to. Most of them will be happy to accommodate you if the offer at all reasonably fits their mandate and doesn't somehow cause them problems. Showing up with goods in hand will generally go over better than showing up with a lot of talk about what you plan to do. Get a little info, make things happen, bring the goods. Then talk more about what else they might need which you could supply.

Happy hunting.
posted by Michele in California at 7:45 AM on September 7, 2012

When I left New Zealand I donated a bunch of stuff and the one that took all our kitchenware and linens etc was the local refugee resettlement agency. They particularly wanted things like you're describing to help people who had arrived with nothing to set up a new home. I'm sorry I don't know who would fill that role locally to you but thought I'd mention it anyway as something you could Google since I never would have thought of that if one of my friends hadn't told me about it.
posted by shelleycat at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2012

Does your community have a refugee resettlement program (often through IRC or Catholic Charities?) I'm sure they would LOVE your kitchen linens, as one of the major expenses is setting the families up in their first homes.

Durr, just saw shelleycat's comment. Great minds, eh? Hopefully the agencies give you some leads!
posted by charmcityblues at 8:57 AM on September 7, 2012

We're moving towards winter; mittens are always useful at shelters. I liked it when my mother-in-law knitted 3, as they get lost so easily.
posted by theora55 at 4:06 PM on September 8, 2012

Perhaps I need to make it clearer that i am not looking for ideas of things TO knit. I am looking for ideas for ideas of where to deliver EXISTING things, and those existing things are kitchen supplies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:38 PM on September 8, 2012

(Sorry - that came out snarky. Mittens is a good idea, but it'd be an idea for someone other than me and is also a different question.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 PM on September 8, 2012

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