Saturday, April 03, 2010
April 3, 2010
I am very excited. I have so much good news to share. Here are the highlights:
The IRS granted our application for 501(c)3 (tax exempt) non-profit status
We’re in the process of getting PayPal to make donations easier
We distributed 540 comfort scarves this month and were able to add 3 more shelters
The positive response of shelters to our scarves is heartwarming for us
Valmonte LIVING did a feature article on our project
Random Acts of Kindness reported on our work in their newsletter
The Health and Community Service Academy at Narbonne High is making comfort scarves
Yarn donors continue their generosity
Here are the details.
Last December, Hilary Huebsch Cohen, our lawyer, completed our application for 501(c)3 status. The IRS granted it in only 3 months, a record time for them, and with no follow up questions or requirements to submit more info. This is a tribute to Hilary’s smarts in filling out the application, and also to our clear mission, our incredible output, and that we reach so many shelters for abused women. Thank you Hilary.
As a result of having the 501(c)3, we need to have PayPal on our website to make it easier for you to make donations. We have just about completed the process. I’ll let you know when it’s available on our website. Lori Jensky is improving and updating our website, a big job, and we really appreciate all her hard work.
Thanks to all of you knitters and crocheters, we were able to distribute 540 comfort scarves in March. We had enough scarves that we could add 3 more shelters to our 22-shelter group. The new shelters are Chicana Services Action Center in Los Angeles, Glendale YWCA DV Project in Glendale, and Valley Oasis Shelter in Lancaster. At the wonderful rate scarves are coming in, I hope we’ll soon be able to supply them to every shelter for abused women in Los Angeles County. Then we’ll add more in Orange County, and then San Diego County. I have big hopes. You’re doing a great job! Many thanks.
Directors at our shelters have sent us numerous letters of appreciation. Refugio Sanchez, facilities Manager at Haven Hills, wrote: “The women of Haven Hills thank you for your donation of 40 scarves. Your donations will help us strengthen our circle of support for victims of domestic violence . . . . . who leave their homes with only the clothes they are wearing. . . . Your donation will make a difference in their efforts to rebuild their lives.”
Ben Schirmer, Executive Director of Rainbow Services, wrote to us with similar appreciation: “Your wonderful gift of 30 comfort scarves helps women recovering from lives of trauma. For clients served by Rainbow Services, the support of community brings a sense of belonging and aids their healing.”
Kathy Strong, Director of Contracts Administration at WTLC, our only shelter that accepts victims of human trafficking as well as of domestic violence, wrote: I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your kind donation of comfort scarves for our women. This extremely generous donation touched the hearts of all of us in the organization and will have a huge impact on our ability to help victims of domestic violence/human trafficking, and their children. You have all helped us save lives and we thank you for that.” Comfort scarves save lives. Wow!
Once in a while, we receive thank you notes from individual recipients. You can see a few of them at the top of this newsletter. I think they are very moving.
Word about Handmade Especially for You is spreading. The March, 2010 issue of Valmonte LIVING featured Handmade in their Volunteer Spotlight. Alex Kent wrote the article, “Comfort with a Cause,” which described the history and growth of Handmade and the support provided by June Grossberg, owner of Concepts in Yarn.
I don’t know how it happened, no one interviewed me or even called for more info, but The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation did a write up on Handmade in their Kind Acts Newsletter, March 2010 http://www.actsofkindness.org/newsletter. I found out about it only because it created a big stir on our website. Many readers wrote, wanting to find out how to participate. It was thrilling for me and a big boost to Handmade.
Students at the Health and Community Services Academy at Narbonne High School found Handmade on the internet and asked to participate. They wanted to learn to knit so they could make comfort scarves and complete the community service requirement of their curriculum. They first told me there would be about 15 students. The number grew to 30, then 50. Luckily, Skacel Inc. had just donated 50 sets of knitting needles. When I and 3 volunteers showed up for the first meeting, 62 students were present. I had an additional 10 sets of needles so it worked out pretty well. I projected an online ‘how to knit video’ on to a big screen so everyone could see what to do. The volunteers, Donna Bybee, Serena Cheng, and Wilma Lym, and I helped individual students. The students were fast learners, very dextrous, enthusiastic, and respectful. I told them I would give them kits to make scarves once they could knit perfect squares. The next week, 30 students showed up (some newcomers) and 7 received kits. The next week, 10 more received kits and I got 4 beautiful scarves. The students were very proud of their achievement and they should be! The teacher/sponsor, Lyn Almustafa, is so excited herself that she is making a scarf and is looking for more needles for our group. If any of you have size 15 or 17 needles to donate, I know this group will put them to good use.
As you must realize, I wouldn’t be able to supply all the new participants, the high school group, and all of you with yarn if it wasn’t for our very generous yarn donors. We have received lots of donations in March. We appreciate the continued generosity of our major donors, Crystal Palace Yarns, Knitting Fever, and now Lion Brand. I don’t know what we would do without them. We do need everyone. We really appreciate the donations from Anzula, Becoming Art, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Cabin Fever, Carolina Homespun, Classic Elite Yarns, Continental Stitch, Dye Dreams, Kollage Yarns, Mango Moon, Mission Falls, Tanglewood Fiber Creations, Tess Designer Yarns, and Textiles a Mano. I always say, “without yarn, we cannot make scarves” and I see how true that is every day as I make kits. I use up the yarn almost as fast as it comes in. All the scarf makers love the infinite variety of the colors, textures, and combinations. Due to all the donations, I can make sure I never give two scarves the same to any shelter. This recipient really receives and individual and personal gift. So if you are impressed by the long list of donors, don’t think we don’t need more or that we have enough. We need a constant supply and we never have enough. Thanks to all yarn donors. You make comfort scarves a reality.
A reality, that is, if we have scarf makers. So I must acknowledge all of you who are so committed to our project. I appreciate every scarf you contribute. Your loving care shows through in every scarf. I wish you could see them all wrapped and ready to go to the shelters. They look like a flower garden in the shipping boxes. Chris Needham does a great job wrapping them. So far she hasn’t been daunted by the increased numbers she has to wrap. And Barbara Klein’s generosity in shipping all the scarves makes it possible for us to supply more shelters. We need and appreciate everyone. Many, many thanks.
If you want to donate yarn, scarves or a check, please send your contribution to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
501(c)3 EIN: 26-3529292