What hands-on activities can my civic/activist gang of friends do?
July 12, 2017 1:21 AM   Subscribe

My civic/volunteer/political/activism group made simple baby blankets to donate to Project Linus. We loved doing this! What other hands-on donation/charity crafts or group activities can we do? We are in the greater Boston area of the USA.

I'm part of a small group of friends who meet regularly to discuss local/national current events, plan volunteer and activist activities, and support each other through these nutty times. We're in the greater Boston area.

We decided to try a tangible hands-on group activity, so we made simple baby blankets and donated them to Project Linus. It was a success, and we all enjoyed it. We'd like to do other activities like this, but I'm having trouble finding ideas or organizations in need.

What other good-cause hands-on activities can we do as a group?

Extra details:
- Not all of us have fabric/yarn skill, so we can't do a thing like "everyone crochet a granny square"
- Doesn't have to be a craft; we're also up for other tasks, like assembling care packages
- We liked the "quilting bee" aspect of all sitting around someone's house working on our craft project, but we'd also be up for going somewhere, like a needy organization's offices
posted by cadge to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Boomerang bags is quite an interesting concept, and lends itself to sewing bees. It's quite a large undertaking though. I have heard of food banks asking for help making reuseable/returnable bags for their customers so that they don't have to use as many single use plastic ones.
posted by kjs4 at 3:42 AM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Check out Community Cooks! My only connection with this organization is seeing a flyer for it recently, but it sounds awesome. You cook and deliver meals every month to a family in the Boston area.
posted by chickenmagazine at 4:13 AM on July 12, 2017

You can hold your own one off Days for Girls sewing day or find a local chapter and join in. DfG provide reusable sanitary kits for women and girls around the world. If some of you aren't sewers, there's still cutting and compiling to do.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 5:09 AM on July 12, 2017

posted by Sassyfras at 5:12 AM on July 12, 2017

Assemble & distribute care kits for homeless people. Here's a Pinterest board of suggestions - a lot of it is Christian-y, just FYI, but plenty of people do this , not just religious ones - it's just something well adapted to church groups and family projects so there's a lot about it online.
posted by Miko at 5:27 AM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crayons to Cradles in Boston loves hosting volunteer groups. They collect and process items for kids and families in need--they connect with a lot of local Boston charities.

I would also check Volunteermatch from the United Way. You can put in your group parameters and they'll give you many opportunities to volunteer.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:13 AM on July 12, 2017

Depending how big your group is, you could prepare a meal at a Ronald McDonald House (they offer low cost accommodations for families with a child undergoing cancer treatment) When I was in youth group a zillion years ago one of our service activities was helping prepare and serve meals to homeless people at the Pine Street Inn, here are their group opportunities. I realize "Greater Boston Area" may not mean literally in Boston. The other things I tend to check are

- food banks (sometimes they can use help loading/unloading or stocking food or for one-off events)
- pet shelters (big clean up projects occasionally or help staffing events)
- thrift stores or other places that may get big rushes of donations and could use help

So poke around a little and consider making a few phone calls/emails along the lines of "Me and X friends would really like to help with a service project for you. Is there a one-time thing that having X people helping with would make go more smoothly? Our skills are A, B and C"
posted by jessamyn at 6:28 AM on July 12, 2017

Have a letter writing event for Amnesty International's Write for Rights.

If you have similar political beliefs, work on a phone bank or canvas for a candidate, e.g. support New Hampshire's 1st District or 2nd District Representatives (your nearest Swing Left support sites). Adjust as desired to support the candidate/s of your choice.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:01 AM on July 12, 2017

If you want to try quilting there is a lot of cutting, ironing and thread snipping to be done for those who don't sew. I remember hearing about an ugly quilt project that are given to foster children so their parents don't take them to sell for drugs.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:49 AM on July 12, 2017

I have worked with groups to assemble clean-up buckets for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. They have a couple of other options for kit assemblage as well. There's nothing particularly religious about them, just an organization that is very effective at distributing aid (they got a lot more credit from locals than the Red Cross did after Katrina).
posted by hydropsyche at 10:50 AM on July 12, 2017

I'm intrigued by Walk Your City.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:15 PM on July 12, 2017

You could sort stuff for shipping containers with NuDay Syria.
posted by lorimt at 9:23 PM on July 12, 2017

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