Handmade for the Homeless FAQs
Why Warm Winter Items?
A. The Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service (MCCCS) at the DCJCC does a lot of work with the homeless and folks living on the streets. When you spend a lot of time outside in the elements, your socks, hats, scarves and gloves get dirty very easily. We hope that our warm winter items can make a bit of difference in someone’s life.
What warm winter items are needed?
A. Warm winter items such as hats, scarves, socks, gloves and mittens are especially needed in adult sizes (although children's items will not be turned away). Blankets, sweaters, cowls, ear warmers etc. are also welcome, but there is more demand for the basics (hats, scarves, socks and gloves and mittens).
Do you have yarn that I can use and do you accept yarn donations?
A. We have lots of donated yarn that you are welcome to use. Contact [email protected] to arrange a pick-up or drop-off. You can use our donated yarn or use your own. Scrap scarves and hats are welcome and a great way to use up leftover yarn and create fun and interesting patterns! You can even hold more than one color strand together! We also accept yarn donations, thank you in advance for anything you can share.
Are there certain types of yarn I should use?
A. Many of these items are distributed to the area's homeless community- so the warmer, the better. Machine washable wool is great, but any yarn will do. We have plenty of donated yarn available to create warm winter items, in a variety of textures and colors. Contact Sonya ([email protected]) to arrange a pick-up or come to one of our monthly sessions at the DCJCC.
Do I need to follow certain patterns?
A. No- please be creative! THE WARMER THE BETTER! Solids, stripes, zig-zags- whatever makes you happy! There are plenty of patterns available online for free, or we are happy to provide patterns in person or by email, for both knit or crochet. Try holding two different strands together - or two of the same color for an extra warm and colorful creation!
Do you need more women's items or men's items? Kids' items?
A. We need warm winter items for both sexes. However, since donated yarn tends to be in bright colors, we end up with more women's items and still need items appropriate for men. Most of the organizations the DCJCC works with are focused on adults, but handmade kids' items will find a home as well.
How many warm winter items do you need?
A. For the annual December 25th Day of Service (D25), we gift wrap thousands of presents for DC area communities in need. In 2017, the group made over 500 warm winter items! Every donation helps-and handmade items are so appreciated by those in need! We wrap them with a note saying they are “Handmade with Love from the DCJCC volunteers”.
When do you need the handmade items by?
A. The handmade items are gift-wrapped as part of the December 25th Day of Service at the DCJCC. All items are needed by early-December in order to have time to gift wrap them and allocate them to 50+ organizations that will receive them as gifts on Christmas Day by our teams of volunteers. If you don't bring them in time, they won't go to waste- we'll just pass them out through DC’s cold winter months!
Where do the items get donated?
A. Handmade items are donated to local homeless shelters, transitional facilities and senior centers on Christmas as part of D25. Whatever isn’t passed out on Christmas will be passed out to folks living on the streets throughout the cold DC winter months.
How often do you meet and where?
A. We meet about once a month throughout the year. You don't need to stay the entire time, but it's please register (for free!) to let us know you are coming and so we have adequate space. If you are unable to attend after registering, we appreciate you letting us know -- and hope you'll be knitting or crocheting at home instead.
I want to get involved, but do not know how to knit or crochet. Will you teach me?
A. Yes- but please important that you register and let us know you want to learn! We love knitting and crocheting and want you to become as addicted as we are to helping others while doing something we love.
Do I need to be a certain age to participate?
A. Nope! We've had knitters and crocheters as young as 12, high school students, college students, and retirees at our monthly sessions. We are happy to teach you to knit and/or crochet as well. There are other year round volunteer opportunities for all ages, visit https://www.edcjcc.org/community/community-service-and-social-justice/. As we prepare for D25 there are also many other ways that volunteers of all ages can become involved- from sorting toiletries, to decorating bags, to wrapping gifts.
Do I need to come to the monthly sessions to donate items? Where can I drop them off or can I mail them to you?
A. Definitely not. We meet about once a month year round. Check our website and visit our page and our Ravelry Page for more info, meeting dates, and to see pictures of finished items. Completed items can be dropped off at the DCJCC - please contact Sonya ([email protected]) to arrange this or mail them to the DCJCC at 1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036 and address the package to Sonya Weisburd and Handmade for the Homeless to be sure they get to those in need.
How else can I get involved?
A. In addition to knitting and crocheting for D25, the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service (MCCCS) at the DCJCC has many year round volunteer opportunities, listed here: https://www.edcjcc.org/community/community-service-and-social-justice/
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