I want to tell you about a project of the Orphan Foundation of America.
In 2005, OFA launched a unique initiative to warm the hearts (and necks) of college-bound foster youth. They began taking donations of handmade red scarves to put into their Valentine’s Day Care Packages.
Word spread quickly around the knitting/crocheting community. In the first year, they took in 3,500 scarves. The following year, that number swelled to over 15,000.
This deluge of generosity was spurred by a grass roots grapevine effect on the internet, thanks to popular knitting blog sites.
These are for young people who have aged out of the foster care program, and now have no family support system. OFA makes sure that these kids have scholarships, supplies, counseling, and other things they need to finish their education.
This year, scarves will be accepted until December 15th, 2009.
I realise that this is last minute, but if anyone wants to undertake a fast knit before the deadline, here are the guidelines:
- Keep quality in mind. Would you give the scarf to your favorite niece or nephew as a gift? If not, it is not appropriate for this project.
- Scarves should be unisex. With thousands of scarves to sort, it would be almost impossible to match up scarves to an appropriate recipient. Also, today there are a lot of names that could be male or female.
- Yarn choice – Red is the preferred color. DK is the preferred yarn weight. (Please no bulky.)
- 5 to 8 inches wide, 60-ish inches long
They should be mailed to:
Orphan Foundation of America
The Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
Lots more details can be found on the Red Scarf Project website.
In addition, many other bloggers are supporting the project.
Norma is running a fund-raising drive for the project, with drawings and prizes and lots and lots of encouragement!
Melissa has designed some fantastic care tags and wrapping labels for the scarves – you can see an example below!
For my scarf I chose Merino Plus yarn from Mondial. The pattern is the One-Row Handspun Scarf by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (from The Yarn Harlot). It went extremely quickly – finished in five days and I was working on other projects as well!
And here it is labelled and ready to send off:
It’s now in the mail on its way to the OFA. And this was also my mitzvah for today!