Our First Crochet Challenge is on the Horizon
Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram know that I have been organizing our very first crochet challenge here at B.hooked Crochet. What you don’t know is that I have teamed up with one of the most amazing charities in the process!
What is a crochet challenge you ask? Well, it’s quite simple really. A crochet challenge is an organized “contest” with a specific project to be completed in a set amount of time. Once the allowed time has expired, a winner is picked at random to win a really awesome prize. Of course I had to add my own little twist for our first challenge; the afghans we complete will be donated to Warm Up America! Foundation. Pretty neat, huh?
Don’t take my word for it…read the following information to discover why Warm Up America has captured my heart and our first challenge.
About Warm Up America! Foundation
Sandy Turk is one of the many volunteers who frequently stops by the office to help with WUA donations.
Warm Up America! (WUA) was the brainchild of Evie Rosen, who for more than 30 years owned a yarn shop in Wausau, WI. She started knitting afghans for shelters in 1990. Frustrated by the great need for blankets and her inability to knit large quantities fast enough, she came up with the idea of dividing up the process. She approached customers and friends and asked them to stitch 7” by 9” sections and then asked others to sew them together.
Everyone pitched in, knitting and crocheting sections and then joining them together to complete colorful patchwork afghan. After a story about Evie’s efforts appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the program just took off.
Why afghans? Evie always said, “There are basic needs that we all share and keeping warm is one of them–whether it’s for someone in a shelter in Wisconsin, a mother and child in battered women’s home in Texas or an older adult in an assisted living center in Georgia.” The other point that Evie realized early on is that a gift of something handmade brings special warmth and love to someone in need.
When her shop overflowed, people started dropping off donations at her home. It got to the point that she couldn’t even open her back door. It was then she approached the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) and asked for help to expand the program nationally. The Council’s office became the collection and distribution point for Warm Up America. In the early 2000’s, the Council officially incorporated the program as a 501C3 charitable foundation.
The Council has always tried to maintain the spirit of Evie’s dream, which is: Neighbors helping neighbors.
Though the Council receives and joins individual sections, then ships thousands of completed afghans annually, it also encourages individuals and groups to complete and donate afghans in their own communities.
The heart of WUA is its volunteers and it’s no surprise how generous crocheters and knitters are with their time and talents. CYC extensive consumer research showed 59% of all crocheters and knitters made at least one project for charity last year, and many made dozens.
“The charity depends on volunteers that are local to its office,” WUA Executive Director Mary Colucci explains. “They assist us in opening boxes, recording donations, sending thank you postcards and repacking sections to be joined by other volunteers. Of course, the financial support of CYC members and other donors, along with the help of the amazing Council staff that oversee the day-to-day activities of the charity, the program would be much smaller than it is today.”
Since Evie started Warm Up America! 1982, an estimated 800,000 afghans and accessories have been distributed to people in need. Recipients include American Red Cross chapters, battered women’s shelters, hospices, veterans’ hospitals, Meals on Wheels, nursing homes and more.
More recently the charity has established a “Current Needs” page at its website for projects that require large donations, and some by a specific date. Parkland Memorial Hospital, located in Dallas, TX, is one such example. Parkland is Dallas County’s public hospital, which serves families of modest means and delivers thousands of babies every year. The Child Life Specialists at the hospital approached Warm Up America! with a wish: they wanted to wrap every baby born at Parkland in a beautiful crocheted or knitted blanket. “After visiting with the families of newborns at the hospital and seeing how appreciative the mothers were of our handmade gifts,” reports Assistant Executive Director Jenny Bessonette, “this was a challenge WUA could not refuse. The campaign is ongoing.”
This past spring, as it has for the past several years, WUA worked with students at Morehead State University on their yearly Build-A-Bed campaign. They build and distribute beds to children in Eastern Kentucky. Along with the bed, each child is given a twin size sheet set, a hygiene kit, books, pajamas, nightlight, alarm clock, stuffed animal, a twin sized bed, mattress, and an afghan. Warm Up America! provided more than 150 afghans for this campaign.
This summer WUA is partnering with Christian Community Action in Lewisville, TX as they collect items for their Back to School program event in August. Every year they provide 1200 children with two new outfits, a new pair of shoes, a new backpack, school supplies, and more. We would like to give all 1200 students, ranging from kindergarten to high school age, a hat and scarf to keep them warm this fall. We need 600 hats and scarves sized for children (hat: 14 in. circumference / scarf: 3 ft) and 600 hats and scarves sized for adults (hats: 19 in. circumference / scarf 5 ft).
For more information on Warm Up America! Foundation, check out their website here.
B.hooked Crochet’s Crochet Challenge for Warm Up America! Foundation
I am so excited about our first crochet challenge and what our support will mean to Warm Up America and the families who receive our afghans.
The crochet challenge will officially kick off August 1, 2015 and will end August 31, 2015 . Each participant will be completing one afghan to donate to Warm Up America to secure their entry in the challenge. Red Heart Yarns will be providing not one but TWO fantastic prizes so that we can select two winners at random!
See you for the challenge!