Made With Love
Warm Up America! sponsors an annual event called Made With Love, where volunteers take to the streets to distribute hats, scarves, gloves and mittens in low-income communities. It is such a rewarding project and we want to share our experiences with WUA! volunteers around the country in the hopes that they can start similar initiatives in their own communities. If you are interested in holding your own Made With Love event, contact WUA! at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan a Made With Love Event in Your Community
When Evie Rosen first started Warm Up America!, she envisioned it as a program of neighbors helping neighbors, with volunteers crocheting and knitting afghans and donating them. Today, WUA! volunteers stitch and contribute a variety of crocheted and knitted items, but the spirit is still the same: helping our neighbors.
In 2015 WUA! staff collaborated with the Dallas Yarn Bombers to stage the first Made With Love event right here in our hometown. Why tie in with the Dallas Yarn Bombers? Because Made with Love was similar to yarn bombing. Colorful crocheted and knitted hats and scarves decorated trees and covered fences. The difference was they were not just for decoration but were for our neighbors in need to select a warm hat and scarf and take it home. Following is an outline.
Initially we tied in our Made With Love event to Valentine’s Day because of the symbolism of this holiday and hence the name. However, in subsequent years we moved up the date to January because that’s when it really starts getting chilly in the Dallas area. Whenever the weather starts to get cold in your area is a good time to start planning a Made With Love event.
This type of project is not possible without an enthusiastic group of participants, not only to stitch the hats and scarves but to help with distribution. If you are a guild, you have a built-in group. If it’s just you and maybe one other friend, appeal to your local yarn store or craft store to help publicize the project or talk to folks at work, church or school.
The organization does not have to be complicated and involved. You do not have to hold meetings. You simply have to ask other crocheters and knitters to assist you in making hats and scarves and advising them of a deadline and drop-off location.
How many hats and scarves to collect? Of course, it depends on the number of volunteers you can inspire. Generally, start the call for donations three months in advance of the day you plan your event. The nice thing about collecting hats and scarves is that even if folks are busy making holiday gifts, they generally have time to whip up a hat or scarf, plus they are great projects to use up leftover yarn.
Set a deadline and location for collecting the donations.
TAGGING HATS & SCARVES
An important part of Made With Love is to make the donation personal, i.e., having the name of the person who made the hat and scarf attached with a note. In addition, having the words: Take me I’m yours! on the tag encourages people to stop and consider taking one of the accessories. There are Made With Love tags and labels which can be printed out on paper, cardstock or fabric, hole punched and tied to the items.
SELECTING LOCATIONS & DISPLAYING DONATIONS
Every community has at least one area that is considered disadvantaged; many have several. In Dallas, we generally designate four areas to display hats and scarves. Consider high-traffic areas, like places close to bus stops, favorite parks, streets or popular grocery stores.
Fences are ideal for displaying hats and scarves because they can easily be attached or they can be tied around trees. With yarn, safety pins and scissors, you should be able to rig up an eye-catching display.
It’s important that at least one volunteer be stationed at the display(s) to explain to passersby that the items are for them to take and enjoy. Initially, people will be shy and dubious about just taking a hat or scarf, but with a little encouragement they will soon be attracted to the colorful, warm items and delighted to take them home.
ALERT THE MEDIA
A mention of your Made With Love event in the local media will ensure a good response. WUA! has a sample press release that can be customized and emailed to local TV and radio stations.
It is also a good idea to send a press release a few months ahead of the event to local organizations, volunteers and news stations to gather donations. This press release should include the donation drop-off location and when volunteers can drop their items off. Download 2018’s Made With Love press release to get an idea of how to write it.
Once you get closer to the date of your event, send a media alert to your local news stations to call attention to when and where the event will be held. Download 2018’s Made With Love media alert to get an idea of how to write it.
We need your financial support to build our charity network. Help us to ship, deliver and create more warm blankets and clothing for people less fortunate than ourselves.
Volunteers can donate their time to crochet and knit one or more 7" by 9" rectangles as well as entire blankets and accessories. Sections are either joined by individuals or groups in a community.
Mail items to:
3740 N Josey Ln Suite #126, Carrollton, TX 75007
There is strength in numbers and one of the ways you can help Warm Up America! is by sharing word of the good things we're doing together.