Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crochet Charity Feature--Angels for Hope

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One thing that has been amazing to me as I've gotten more involved with crocheting and the on-line crocheting community is just how many opportunities there are to do good with this talent.  Between collective etsy shops to bonafide non-profit organizations, to helping out with fundraisers for worthy causes, I've found that there are more ways to help than I had ever previously imagined.

I still enjoy the one-on-one gifts of course, whether they be to people I know or people I don't, and I love to see someone's eyes light up when I've managed to give them something that they really treasure.  But, there is also a sweet satisfaction in a gift quietly given.  I imagine you know what I mean.

Anyway, because there are so many options for charitable crocheting out there, I'm going to try something new around here.  Every 2-3 months (if I stay on top of it) I'm going to research and highlight a charitable organization that utilizes crocheters to fulfill its mission.  I'm hoping that in doing that, I'll end up with a nice database of charitable options for myself, and if it helps someone else out there, then well, I definitely won't complain about that.

So, today I'd like to highlight Angles for Hope as my first crochet charity feature.

salu 11-10

What they do:  Angels for hope offers free crocheted angels (and butterflies and smiley faces) for anyone in need of hope.  A small card is attached to each angel, indicating to the recipient that they are not alone, that someone cares, that they are in the thoughts and prayers of another.

How it works:  Anyone can request that an angel be sent to a friend or loved one in need through their website.  Angels for Hope volunteers commit to crochet one item per week (using official AFH patterns), and send it, at their expense, to a recipient in need of hope, as assigned by AFH administrators. 

Other notes:  Angels of Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, which means that any expenses incurred in being a volunteer are deductible as charitable contributions.

My thoughts:  When I first heard about this, I wasn't exactly sold on the idea.  I mean, if I'm feeling ill or unhappy, or just tired of fighting, is a little crochet embellishment really going to help me out?  But, as I've researched and found out more about it, I've become more of a believer.  In 2009, Angels for Hope sent out 81,489 items to people in need of hope and cheer.  That's a lot of people blessed by mere "crochet embellishments".

Sometimes I get caught up in the "utility" of the things I make.  I mean, donated hats or a blankets serve very practical needs, and there is definitely a need for them in places all over the world.  But, what about people who live in warm climates?  What about people who have sufficient funds in their bank accounts to purchase their own hats and blankets, but are emotionally bankrupt, in need of love, cheer, or some reminder that they are not alone in the world?  If a woman (or man) with a crochet hook and a skein of yarn can help with that need, is it any less worthy of a cause?  Personally, I don't think so.

To be an Angel for Hope volunteer, there is a definite commitment.  As you sign up, you basically agree to make and send one item, week in and week out.  I was thinking that were I to volunteer, I could possibly work really hard for 2-3 days, make 10-15 items, and send one out each week, then repeat the process 10-15 weeks later.  However, it looks like the "requesters" can specify a color of the item, and so my stockpile idea might not work.

I've got an e-mail in to Cindy Gabner, the President of the Organization, asking her that very question.  If I find out more on that, I'll be sure to post it here. 

Either way, I think the folks at Angels for Hope have found a creative way to spread a little cheer, and having a little more cheer in the world is always a good thing, right?

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