With Christmas safely behind us, New Years’ approaches with that eternal question: “What can I change for next year?” Crafters inevitably have a long laundry list, but the one I’m tackling today is “charity.”
There area a couple of ways to craft for charity. One of the easiest ways is to CLEAN UP, CLEAN OUT. For some, this IS the goal- just to purge your craft closet/room/studio of unused craft supplies. It feels even better to get organized when you know that your supplies are going to good use elsewhere. Need some ideas on where to donate your supplies? Here’s a little list to get you started:
- Find an Art Therapy program. (Google “Art Therapy) with the name of your town.) Many Art Therapists work for non-profits, and they bring healing art to their clients on a shoestring. Your extra fabric, trims, scrapbooking paper, paints, etc. could help scads of folks in need. Most anything you have can be recycled by an Art Therapist!
- Nursing Home Activities Professionals. If you need a contact, call your local assisted living/senior center/nursing home and ask to speak to the activities professional there, and they can fill you in on what kind of donations they take.
- Childcare, pre-school, or after-school programs. Again, most of these programs are BIG consumers of craft supplies, and your extra scrapbooking paper, stickers, glitter, paint, and glue can spark creativity in kids. Even your smallest scrapbook paper scraps can be used by kids for collage or just scissor practice!Â Keep in mind that crafts that are used by kids NEED to be non-toxic. Make sure you withhold solvent-based glues or paints- they won’t be able to take them.
ALWAYS make sure your crafts are um…non-stinky. There’s no easy way to say this, but nobody wants craft supplies that smell like smoke or cats or mold. ‘Kay?
Another way to contribute to a charitable cause is to actually donate what you MAKE.
- Quilt? Donate lap quilts to the nursing home or homeless shelters.
- Knit? Make layettes for preemies, whip up squares for Project Linus, or make some scarves for needy kids.
- Crochet? How about hats for chemo patients or prayer shawls for hospice?
- Make Jewelry? Dress for Success would love some accessories adorn women on interviews!
Bottom line: lots of charities will put your finished goods in the hands of the needy!
If you feel your crafts can’t be directly donated (I know some of my art pieces would be hard to donate) but you do sell your crafts, try the “10 percent” idea. You can do this a couple of ways. One is to donate 10% of your sales to your favorite charity. If doing that all year is a bit much for you, set aside one week a month and let that be your “donation week.” (Buyers love the idea that their purchase will do double-duty!) Another option is to designate 10% of your stock to be charity-specific, and then donate ALL of the proceeds of those sales. If you sell on Etsy, you can even make that a category in your store! If you sell at fairs, set aside one display and let your buyers know that those items will support a charity.
Lastly, donate your time. Find one of the programs I mentioned above and offer to volunteer. Teaching someone to knit, bead, paint, crochet, quilt, or scrapbook is gift that will keep on giving, and I guarantee that you will feel satisfied down to your toes.
Well, faithful crafters, keep spreading the crafty love!