Ultimate Guide to Crocheting for Charity for Beginners

Hello, everyone — my name is Aimen and I’m Marie’s VA. I’ve been crocheting for the past 8 years and I love exploring all of the fabulous things the crochet world has to offer. I’ll be kicking off this comprehensive guide to crocheting for charity for beginners so that you know just where you want to send your handmade items!

If you’ve been reading Marie’s blog for a while, you know that she’s always sharing information about charities that accept handmade donations. She even has a series of charity spotlight posts that include free crochet patterns designed specifically to meet donation guidelines. Today, we’re sharing the ultimate guide to crocheting for charity for beginners, including how to crochet for charity; tips on crocheting for charity, information on which charities are still active, and links to patterns that are perfect for donation!

Ultimate Guide to Crocheting for Charity for Beginners via Underground Crafter FB

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Project photos are copyright the respective designer/publisher and are used with permission.


Ultimate Guide to Crocheting for Charity for Beginners

Whether you’re a beginner who has just started their crochet journey or an experienced crocheter who has made a lot of amazing projects and wants to find homes for them, this guide includes everything you need to get started to crochet for charity. This charity crochet guide has been organized into four sections:

  • How To Crochet For Charity – 5 Guidelines
  • Donating Blankets and Afghans – 13 Organizations and 16 Free Patterns
  • Donating Wearables – 17 Organizations and 28 Free Patterns
  • Donating Other Handmade Crochet Items – 9 Organizations and 4 Free Patterns
Ultimate Guide to Crocheting for Charity for Beginners via Underground Crafter

How To Crochet For Charity

As with all handmade donations, be sure to follow these guidelines before you start crocheting for charity.

  1. Check the requirements for donation. Many organizations are very specific about what they can and can’t accept. Some have specific patterns you are required to use; others have detailed instructions for how to package your makes for donations; and most have requirements about if/how you should wash projects before sending. If your project is being created for the purpose of crocheting for this charity, visit the website or contact the organization via email or phone to get the details before getting started. If you’re looking for good homes for existing projects, check the requirements before shipping or dropping off any projects.
  2. Choose your pattern. Once you know the requirements, choose a pattern (from this post or elsewhere online) that is suitable for donation to your target organization.
  3. Gather your materials. Be sure to keep in mind any requirements or preferences of the organization you plan to donate to. These may include colors, yarn types, and more.
  4. Crochet! (The fun part!) Be sure to follow any finishing instructions supplied by the organization. If required, wash your projects after finishing.
  5. Send your projects. Whether you plan to drop off your projects locally or ship them to an organization that will distribute your goodies, make sure to package everything up so that your donations don’t get dirty or damaged in transport. Many organizations have specific guidelines for tagging projects as well.

You may also enjoy the video below, Getting Started Crocheting for Charity.

If you can’t see the video above about getting started crocheting for charity, click HERE to watch it on YouTube.

Want to be more involved in charity crochet? Check out the video below, 5 Steps for Organizing a Crochet Charity Drive.

If you can’t see the video above about organizing a charity crochet drive, click HERE to watch on YouTube.


Donating Blankets and Afghans

Blankets and afghans are some of the most popular projects you can crochet for charity. Here is a list of thirteen organizations that distribute blankets and afghans to children and adults, along with free blanket patterns and tutorials to get you inspired.

Ultimate Guide to Crocheting for Charity for Beginners Generic Image
  • Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation: Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation focuses on specific needs of the many schools and social service organizations of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota with an estimated population of close to 40,000. According to the needs of the reservations, crochet projects can be made and donated. There are numerous patterns for handcrafted items which can be found here.
  • Joan Schick Blanket Project: The Joan Schick Blanket Project was founded in 2009 and has since donated over 500 handmade crocheted or knitted baby blankets from generous volunteers to the NICU at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. The goal is to expand so that every baby who leaves the NICU will go home with a blanket supplied by this organization.
  • Knit-a-Square: Knit-a-Square has distributed over 90,000 blankets since 2008 to warm and comfort the cold, orphaned or vulnerable children of South Africa. In this crochet and knitting project, over 1.5 million 8” (20cm) squares have been sent by compassionate crafters from more than 60 countries worldwide. You can learn more about the square instructions here.
  • Knots of Love: Founded in 2007, Knots of Love provides hand-knit and crocheted beanies to people going through chemo and NICU blankets to babies in neonatal intensive care unit incubators. All beanies and blankets are made by hand and given free of charge. Their community of over 10,000 volunteers has gifted over half a million handmade creations in over 14 years.
  • Newborns in Need: Newborns in Need, Inc. (NIN) is a 501(c)(3) charity organized to take care of sick and needy babies and families, and in case of crisis, to help where help is needed. Collecting needed items such as baby wash, sleepers, diapers, wipes, thermometers and other necessary items, these items are distributed in the local community. Talented hands create warm blankets, afghans and quilts to fill the kits, created by volunteers.
  • Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude provides opportunities for people to express their gratitude to military and first responders. Since 2003, with the help of a nationwide network of volunteers, they have sent a total of 3.5 million Care Packages containing carefully chosen items meant to boost the morale and resilience of service members and give them reminders of home. Currently, they send up to 200,000 Care Packages per year.
  • Preemies of the Carolinas: Preemies of the Carolinas was started in September 2015 to give back and provide children who have any type of stay in the children’s hospital with something special from home; something handmade to provide comfort to the patient. Currently they provide hearts, hats and blankets to local NICU’s and send individual packets out to parents nationwide who currently have a preemie or baby in the NICU. Since September 2015, they have been accepted into 15 hospitals.
  • Project Legacy Shawls: Project Legacy is a program that collects knitted, crocheted or woven shawls for patients undergoing end of life care at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, VA. These shawls and lapghans provide warmth and comfort to patients in the palliative care unit. Ultimately, they go home with the families as a keepsake and become an important part of the grieving process.
  • Project Linus: Project Linus National Headquarters is located in Belton, Missouri. With chapters in all 50 states, Project Linus continues to grow. Handmade security blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug. Project Linus has been featured in Parade, People, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Quiltmaker, Quilters Newsletter, Guidepost, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Woman’s Day.
  • Snuggles Project: The Snuggles Project remains a very popular program of Hugs Society (formerly Hugs for Homeless Animals). It is a well-known as a multi-beneficial project. After being given a Snuggle, a frightened and/or difficult to handle animal is able to become calm. The Snuggles provide a more homey environment for shelter visitors and staff.
  • The Binky Patrol: Binky Patrol is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to making blankets and giving them away to children who are in crisis (e.g., ill, abused, etc.). It officially began in Laguna Beach, California in May 1996. From its initial 5 volunteers, Binky Patrol has grown to over 160 chapters and and estimated 20,000 volunteers nationwide. It also featured in the Oprah Winfrey Show in June of 1996, Family Circle in 1998, and currently participates in Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Day” volunteer campaign. See sample binkies here and binky patterns here.
  • Warm Up America: Since 1991, Warm Up America has been distributing handmade blanket sections, complete blankets, and more to people in need during times of distress throughout the United States. You can find out more about donating your crochet items to Warm Up America here.
  • Welcome Blanket: Welcome Blanket is a crowd-sourced artistic action supporting refugees settling in the United States. Originally, the project was designed to recast the 2000-mile distance of Trump’s proposed barrier between Mexico and the United States into 2000 miles of handmade blankets. Handcraft makers (knit, sew, quilt, crochet, weave, felt, etc.) are invited to make Welcome Blankets and the design guidelines are 40” x 40”.
  • Wool-Aid: Wool-Aid is a community of knitters, crocheters, and weavers who create warm woolen clothing and blankets for children who live in the coldest climates and have the least access to resources. Their mission is to provide the very neediest children with wool socks, sweaters, vests, mittens, hats, and blankets.

16 Patterns for Crochet Blankets You Can Donate

If donating a blanket seems right for you, here are free blanket and afghan patterns and tutorials to inspire your next charity crochet project (seen left to right starting from top left corner).

Other Patterns for Crochet Blankets You Can Donate


Donating Wearables

To provide comfort for people of all ages, and especially newborns, preemies, and the homeless, it’s important to donate clothing items. Here are seventeens organizations that accept donations of different wearables such as handmade hats, sweaters, scarves, etc. along with free pillowcase patterns and tutorials to get you inspired.

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  • Christmas at Sea: CAS delivers the highest volume of knitted gifts to international seafarers of any non-profit, and are the only chaplaincy delivering knit gifts to thousands of professional U.S. mariners on the Mississippi River system and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterways. Although the gifts are delivered to ships and boats from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through Epiphany in January, gathering and cataloging the knits occurs year-round.
  • CLICK for Babies (National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome): This is a grassroots public education campaign organized in partnership with hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups to create awareness of the leading trigger for infant abuse, frustration with infant crying. During the campaign, communities donate handmade caps stitched in all shades of purple. Along with these caps, new parents receive a video, booklet, and bedside information describing the Period of PURPLE Crying. The name for the campaign comes from the well known “clicking” sound that knitters and crafters make with their needles as they create their works of art.
  • Crochet for Cancer: Crochet for Cancer is a Christian volunteer based non-profit that donates handmade chemo caps to cancer centers for patients coping with hair loss. People from around the globe crochet and knit hats for oncology patients. They mail their items to one of the Official Crochet for Cancer Chapters to distribute to cancer centers, doctor offices and hospitals in their community.
  • Handmade Especially for You: They make “comfort” scarves and distribute them to shelters for abused women. Each scarf is tied with a ribbon and provided a note signed by the giver. In 2022, they made 12,230 scarves,1335 hats, plus 300 baby items and shipped to 70+ shelters for abused women in Southern and Central California. Since they started in October 2008, they have distributed over 167,240 scarves and 15,610 hats (plus 4000 baby items).
  • Hat Not Hate: Handmade blue hats are distributed across the country for the youth to wear, spreading an anti-bullying sentiment, and 106,529 total hats have been made and distributed since 2018. Through hands-on activities, they empower children to be kind. The color blue represents awareness, peace, and solidarity.
  • Hats for Sailors: The Hat for Sailors’ mission is to provide deployed sailors of the US Navy and the Coast Guard with handmade 100% washable wool hats made by loving volunteers. It started in 2010 with the help of knitters and crocheters from all over the world. There are two deadlines each year and hats have been provided to outfit the USS Decatur, two Coast Guard cutters (all deployed in the Persian Gulf) as well as to Australian, British and Iraqi military personnel guarding the last remaining Iraqi oil terminal.
  • Knit-a-Square: Knit-a-square has distributed over 90,000 blankets since 2008 to warm and comfort the cold, orphaned or vulnerable children of South Africa. In this crochet and knitting project, over 1.5 million 8” (20cm) squares have been sent by compassionate crafters from more than 60 countries worldwide. You can learn more about the square instructions here.
  • Knit the Rainbow: It was founded in April 2020 after the founder discovered the housing disparities facing LGBTQ+ youth in New York City. Volunteers knit or crochet at home and donate the garments to KtR to be distributed in New York City and Chicago.
  • Knit Your Bit National World War II Museum: Since its launch in 2006, Knit Your Bit has reached more than 10,000 knitters and crocheters in all 50 states. Through their efforts, the Museum has distributed more than 50,000 scarves to to approximately 1,000 veterans’ centers, hospitals, and service organizations across the country. To find out more about participation, see instructions here.
  • Knots of Love: Founded in 2007, Knots of Love provides hand-knit and crocheted beanies to people going through chemo and NICU blankets to babies in neonatal ICU incubators. All beanies and blankets are made by hand and given free of charge. Their community of over 10,000 volunteers has gifted over half a million handmade creations in over 14 years.
  • Newborns in Need: Newborns in Need, Inc. (NIN) is a 501(c)(3) charity organized to take care of sick and needy babies and families, and in case of crisis, to help where help is needed. Collecting needed items such as baby wash, sleepers, diapers, wipes, thermometers and other necessary items, these items are distributed in the local community. Talented hands create warm blankets, afghans and quilts to fill the kits, created by volunteers.
  • Preemies of the Carolinas: Preemies of the Carolinas was started in September 2015 to give back and provide children who have any type of stay in the children’s hospital with something special from home; something handmade to provide comfort to the patient. Currently they provide hearts, hats and blankets to local NICU’s and send individual packets out to parents nationwide who currently have a preemie or baby in the NICU. Since September 2015, they have been accepted into 15 hospitals.
  • Prayer Shawls at Rush: This group was born mid February, 2015 to provide care and comfort to all patients of any age and any stage of disease at Rush. Since then, they’ve received and given out roughly 80 shawls to deserving patients and families, especially to those who are suffering from uncontrolled symptoms or near the end of their life.
  • Project Legacy Shawls: Project Legacy is a program that collects knitted, crocheted or woven shawls for patients undergoing end of life care at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, VA. These shawls and lapghans provide warmth and comfort to patients in the palliative care unit. Ultimately, they go home with the families as a keepsake and become an important part of the grieving process.
  • Red Scarf Project (Foster Care to Success): FC2S began mailing its students who have experienced foster care Valentine’s Day care packages in 2005, and, in the first seven years, delivered over 20,000 red scarves to youth in colleges and training programs across the country. FC2S welcomes donations between September 1 and December 15. Scarves should be approximately 60 inches long and in a shade of red or similar tones or designs. Additional scarf guidelines can be found here.
  • The Reuben Project: The Reuben Project strives to build a community that wishes to contribute its resources to the larger community of the Portland Metro area. Volunteers create handcrafted hats and scarves by way of knitting, crocheting, sewing, and felting. Donations of any new or gently used warm items, including gloves and socks, are also welcome.
  • Wool-Aid: Wool-Aid is a community of knitters, crocheters, and weavers who create warm woolen clothing and blankets for children who live in the coldest climates and have the least access to resources. Their mission is to provide the very neediest children with wool socks, sweaters, vests, mittens, hats, and blankets.

28 Patterns for Crochet Wearables You Can Donate

If donating a hat, sweater, scarf, etc. seems right for you, here are free patterns and tutorials to inspire your next charity crochet project (seen left to right starting from top left corner).

Other Patterns for Crochet Wearables You Can Donate


Donating Other Handmade Crochet Items

For miscellaneous and particularly dedicated items, here are nine organizations that accept donations for crocheted projects ranging from handmade comfort squares to plush toys and more, along with free patterns to inspire you.

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  • Cancer Kickin’ Critters: This is a nonprofit created to bring comfort to children in the hospital fighting cancer. Volunteers hand-make stuffed toys and create kits for patients to make their own stuffed animals. These Critters are donated free of charge to children’s hospitals around the world and to other organizations serving children with cancer. Experienced crafters can send completed toys or knit squares of any size that are turned into kits for cancer patients to create their own bunnies. So far, they have donated 1,045 Completed Critters and 1,814 Critter Creation Kits.
  • Comfort and Cuddle: Comfort and Cuddle is an organization dedicated to providing small, hand knit and crocheted comfort blankets (called “Comforts“) to children in need. All Comforts are textured and create a soothing sensory experience for the child. These are great for keeping in a hoodie pocket or under a pillow for a squeeze whenever the child needs an extra reminder of unconditional love and support.
  • Crafting Change: Crafting Change was born out of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when crafters sewed masks needed by healthcare workers. Since, Crafting Change has delivered over 135,000 items made by craftivists in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada to organizations in every state, and internationally to Canada, Ghana and Ukraine.
  • Each Stitch Counts: The mission of Each Stitch Counts is to alleviate hygiene insecurity by providing food pantries with dish and laundry detergent. Containers of dish detergent include a handmade dishcloth donated by crafter volunteers. Households dealing with food insecurity often deal with hygiene insecurity which is why it is important to supply these products to them.
  • Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation: Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation focuses on specific needs of the many schools and social service organizations of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota with an estimated population of close to 40,000. According to the needs of the reservations, crochet projects can be made and donated. There are numerous patterns for handcrafted items which can be found here.
  • My Recovery Buddy: My Recovery Buddy is a 5013c NJ Non-Profit organization that provides soft, hand crafted rectangular shaped Buddy friends to people who are in recovery. It was founded as a way to help people through the rough patches they are going through – whether it’s battling addiction, disorder, trauma, grief, or medical/mental illness. Since inception in February 2014, they have placed over 6000 BUDDIES into the arms of people in need, all over the world.
  • Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude provides opportunities for people to express their gratitude to military and first responders. Since 2003, with the help of a nationwide network of volunteers, they have sent a total of 3.5 million Care Packages containing carefully chosen items meant to boost the morale and resilience of service members and give them reminders of home. Currently, they send up to 200,000 Care Packages per year.
  • Petals of Gratitude: This is a global group of volunteers who use crochet talents to make crochet flowers. Those flowers are sent, for free, to cancer patients – who then gift them to their medical heroes. This charity was started in November 2021 with 150 volunteers. Cancer patients fill the form on the website, and flowers are mailed to their requested location (or direct to their medical heroes) at no charge. Volunteers donate crocheted flowers, or supplies for the team to crochet.
  • Ronald McDonald House: The mission of RMHC is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Their projects vary chapter to chapter.
  • S.A.C.K.: In September of 2017, S.A.C.K. was started as a grassroots effort to help address the tradeoff between food and hygiene items by connecting people interested in crocheting/knitting soap sacks and then donating them (with a bar of soap in each one) to homeless shelters, food pantries, relief efforts, veteran clinics and social service agencies. Since then, over 280,000 soap sacks have been distributed by in every state in the U.S., as well as Asia, Australia, Europe and Canada.

4 Patterns for Other Crochet Items You Can Donate

If donating other miscellaneous crochet items seems right for you, here are free patterns and tutorials to inspire your next charity crochet project (seen from left to right).

Can’t decide what to make? Check out the video below, 3 Tips for Choosing Your Charity Crochet Project.

If you can’t see the video above with tips for choosing a charity crochet project, click HERE to watch it on YouTube.

Looking for more pattern inspiration? Check out:

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