The score so far:
2 thick, woolly baby blankets and one all-wool child's sweater for Afghans for Afghans.
3 knitted bears sent to Africa to comfort AIDS-afflicted children and AIDS orphans via the Mother Bear Project.
1 scarf for a local women's shelter.
And still to come, a hat or scarf or two for Gayla Trail's collection on the You Grow Girl site for a women's shelter in Toronto.
When you love to knit and you love people around you, it's natural to love to knit for the people you love as well as for yourself. Extending that love to people in need isn't much of a leap, as knitters are often naturally generous people who take care of each other as well as others around them. Just ask the lovely people at any knitting group.
Today is Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is Poverty. I took a few moments to reflect on what I have done, and what I might done, to help alleviate poverty in my community and around the world. The Charitable Fund drive is on at work, and I've submitted my pledge in support of a group of local charities. I help provide capital for microloans through Kiva, taking on all the risk and earning no interest other that the good feeling of helping people across the world help themselves. I donate to Heifer International, the worldwide organization that believes in gifts that keep on giving, as the gift of a livestock or trees through Heifer carries the expectation that the recipient will pass on the gift by distributing offspring throughout his or her community.
And I knit. It's easy to sit back in the comfort of my own middle-class home -- pallatial compared with the housing most people in the world live in -- and write checks. It's easy to sit back and knit there, too, but at the very least, knitting requires a certain amount of physical effort on my part. The gift of something made by someone's hands carries with it a personal message of caring that money alone might not convey.
Readers -- and I know I have at least a few -- can you add to the measure of knitted love that's going out into the world? Even just one small item -- a hat, a scarf, a pair of socks? There are so many charities one can knit for, both locally and abroad. Hospitals are often in need of preemie clothing and chemo caps. Women's crisis centers appreciate gifts of toiletries for women who have had to flee from ghastly domestic conflict with only the clothes on their back, and a hand-knitted scarf, cap, or vest is a thoughtful addition to their comfort. Organizations to help pregnant teens and single mothers are in need of baby clothing and blankets. Homeless shelters need warm hats, scarves, gloves, and vests for people who spend most of their time on the streets. Project Linus provides handmade blankets for children enduring trauma. Adopt an Elder needs hand-knitted socks and donations of wool yarn, food, and financial support for impoverished Dineh (Navajo) elders.
There are so many charities one can knit for that the only difficult part is deciding which ones to adopt. After that, it's a simple matter of setting aside a little time each week to work on a charity project. I've discovered that knitting for charities, particularly those with deadlines, has increased my total knitting productivity. Amazing what a deadline can do! And amazing what a little knitted love can do, once it's sent out into the world.