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Sewing for Charity: What to Know in 2020

This page offers sewing for charity projects, along with info on where and what else to donate!

Updated October 15, 2020
Sewing for Charity

COVID-19 has made 2020 a difficult year. Many people have found comfort in their projects and have hit an all-time high on the amount of sewing they've managed to get done.

If you're one of those sewists then it can be a great idea to use your amazing skill to help out those in need.

With this page, Sewing for Charity: What to Know in 2020, we're going over everything you need to know before donating, where to donate, and what projects to sew.

Face masks are a big part of 2020 and a great way to help out in your local communities, but they're not the only way. There are tons of different charities that are always looking for donations from all sewists, from beginner to advanced. 

This guide will explain the types of places that need the most help right now and could use your efforts. We've also provided a collection of different national charities that are accepting donations of all kinds so you're sure to find something that sparks a desire to help in you.

P.S. Many of these charities also accept knit, crochet, purchased, and monetary donations as well so this is not limited to the sewing community. Anyone can give!
 

How To Sew A Mask Without Elastic

Popular Sewn and Fabric Items for Donating

You can go straight to the source and ask the places you plan to give to what they need. However, there are items that nearly every place needs every year, so we thought we'd provide a starting off point so you know what to add to your sewing list.

It's so heartwarming to be able to use crafting skills for good, and donating your homemade pieces is one of the best ways to do that. For those in need, knowing that someone cares enough to make something by hand for them makes them feel loved and cared about.

Keep in mind that certain organizations might not need what you want to make. It's a good idea to check with them before making or sending anything. Most organizations have a phone number or email address for questions.

  1. COVID-19/Hospital Items
    1. Fabric masks/clear masks
    2. Scrubs (hats, shirts, pants)
    3. Ear protectors
    4. Mask pouches/holders
    5. Mask chains
    6. Hand sanitizer pouches/holders
    7. Laundry bags
       
  2. Blankets
    1. Lapghans
    2. Baby blankets
    3. Full-size blankets
    4. Fidget quilts
    5. Quilt blocks (for blankets)
       
  3. Hats
    1. Baby hats
    2. Preemie hats
    3. Chemo caps
       
  4. Baby and Children's Items (additional)
    1. Bibs
    2. Toys/Stuffed animals
    3. Pillows
    4. Crib/children's bedding
    5. Layette sets (complete set of clothing, bedding, and toiletry articles)
       
  5. Shawls/Scarves
    1. Prayer shawls
    2. Chemo shawls
    3. Winter scarves (baby/child/adult)
       
  6. Clothing (additional)
    1. Preemie/newborn/baby clothing
    2. Children's clothing (such as pajamas, shirts, sweaters, pants)
    3. Hospital gowns
    4. Burial outfits
    5. Winter clothing
    6. Baby booties
    7. Socks
    8. Slippers
       
  7. Pet Items
    1. Beds
    2. Blankets
    3. Collars
    4. Toys
    5. Sweaters
    6. Scraps for cleaning/padding
       
  8. Kitchen Items
    1. Oven mitts
    2. Aprons
    3. Towels
       
  9. Sewing/Crafting Supplies
    1. Sewing needles and sewing machines
    2. Fabric
    3. Thread
    4. Packages of yarn/crochet thread/embroidery floss
    5. Scrap yarn/crochet thread/embroidery floss
    6. Accessories/notions (scissors, mats, rulers, buttons, travel sewing kits, etc)
       

Magic Pillowcase for Charity

Organizations Near You to Donate

If you're looking for somewhere to donate your projects to sometimes the best way to go is local. Though it might not be apparent right away there are always people in your community who need some help and it can be extra rewarding if you know what you're doing is helping those near you. The list provided gives some examples of of organizations that are always looking for donations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many of these places will be needing even more assistance than usual and so your donations could really help them out!

  1. Hospitals
  2. Nursing homes
  3. Homeless shelters
  4. Cancer centers
  5. Animal shelters
  6. Hospice care centers
  7. Churches
  8. Veteran centers
  9. Disaster relief locations (wildfires, floods, tornados, etc)
  10. Additional governmental and non-governmental organizations

National Organizations To Donate To

Beyond your community, there are always larger national charities that are looking for all sorts of donations. Many have started up or changed direction due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and need things like masks and other PPE.

The list below includes some that are currently accepting donations so you can get started. However, this is obviously not every charity so feel free to get inspired by the ones we have and do your own research.

These charities are looking for everything from masks to blankets to clothes so this article will also include links to different patterns for those (if the charities themselves do not include their own specific patterns).

The Sewing Army

The Sewing Army is an organization that came about in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of PPE that resulted. As PPE is now more readily avaiable their focus has shifted to helping out lower income communities who are more affected by the pandemic so they still need your donations!

Deaconess

Deaconess is a hospital in Evansville, IL that has set up a database of organizations across the country that need help with face masks. You can filter by your area and find places near you that need your help. Many of these places need masks for their workers so they can continute to do their healthcare jobs while staying safe.

Mayo Clinic Health System

The Mayo Clinic Health Center is an academic medical center with multiple locations. They are looking for face masks from sewists around the country for patients, staff, and visitors to stay safe while in their facilities as these donations allow them to hand out masks to people who do not already have their own.

Ryan's Case for Smiles

Ryan's Case for Smiles is a charity that collects donated homemade pillowcases to give to children who are undergoing treatment in the hospitals to make their stay less scary. However, due to the pandemic they have shifted gears and are now collecting homemade masks to distribute. 

#GetUsPPE

#GetUsPPE is another organization that formed in response to the global pandemic that was founded by physicians and medical researchers to provide healthcare workers around the country with PPE. You can donate masks or materials to help out other people making PPE!

Project Linus

Project Linus is an organization that provides blankets for children in need to give them a sense of comfort. If you love sewing blankets. You can find a local chapter and donate your time and blankets to help a child in need.

They also happen to be celebrating their 25th year in 2020!

Project Linus

Humanity Sews

Humanity Sews provides you the opportunity to donate a quilt, buy a quilt, train a sewist, or donate a sewing machine to help people lift themselves out of poverty. This program is dedicated to assisting those in need by teaching them a life skill in sewing so they can help themselves.

Operation First Response

Operation First Response is an organization that provides for military personel and their families. As a sewist you can contribute by sewing a cot quilt that will be sent to people in military combat hospitals. These packages are to provide some comfort from home until they can finally come home.

Charlotte's Purpose

Charlotte's Purpose is an organization that has a Wrapped In Love Project which seeks to offer comfort to families that lose an infant. They are always looking for sewists who would volunteer to transform wedding dresses into burial gowns for those families that are grieving.

Dress a Girl Around the World

Dress a Girl Around the World is a charity that aims to empower girls in dozens of countries by making sure they have at least one nice dress they can work. Clothing can be so important and this is a great way to help someone in need with just a simple act.

Sharing The Weight

Sharing the Weight is an organization that aims to help out families that have children with special needs. Weighted blankets are amazing for helping people with mental illness and other needs get a good night's sleep which is so important to their health. They are looking for sewists to donate fabrics so they can make more.

Days for Girls International

Days for Girls International is an amazing organization that allows sewists to volunteer their services to help create kits for over a million women's periods. Periods can be incredibly stigmatizing so this service offers homemade products that these women do not have to be ashamed of so they can continute to live their lives.

The Sewing Machine Project

The Sewing Machine Project lets you change a life simply by donating your old machine that you're not going to use anymore. When donated these machines are sent to people in other countries to help them start their own groups and improve their quality of life through sewing. 

How to Make a Clear Face Mask

Sewing for Charity Projects and Patterns

Many organization websites include links to projects that they have already approved, but the following are popular go-tos for charity.

We've separated them into the categories we detailed in the Popular Sewn and Fabric Items for Donating section at the top of the page.

COVID-19/Hospital Items

  1. How To Sew A Face Mask
  2. 3D Face Mask Pattern
  3. Child Size Face Mask
  4. How to Make a Clear Face Mask
  5. DIY Face Mask Keyring Case
  6. DIY Face Mask Holder (shown below!)
  7. Scrub Cap Pattern
  8. Surgical Scrub/ Bandana/ Chemo Hat
  9. Unisex Scrubs Pants Free Pattern
  10. DIY Laundry Bag

DIY Face Mask Holder

Things to Keep in Mind for Charity Donations

  1. As mentioned above, if you're unsure that your charity of choice is still accepting what you're looking to donate, it wouldn't hurt to contact them via email or a quick phone call.
     
  2. Some charities do not accept donations from homes with pets or smokers as this could trigger allergies or other illnesses. Contact first before donating if this applies to you!
     
  3. Along the lines of triggering allergies, remember that some people are allergic to wool or other yarn materials. Softness is also important, particularly with baby items.
     
  4. Contactless or protected delivery is key with the COVID-19 epidemic, so make sure proper precautions are followed when sending or dropping off your items. 
     
  5. Think global, act local! It might save you time, money, and energy to find a local chapter of a national organization or a smaller but local place in need of your sewn charity items.

    Contact community organizers or ask around in your neighborhood groups to donate to someone close by. That way you can drop it off and see their reactions in real-time.

Up Next

10 DIY Face Masks for Kids

Which charities are we missing?
Let us know in the comments!

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