June 30, 2011
We distributed just over 1,000 comfort scarves this month; more than 7,000 scarves already this year
Thanks to all our volunteers
Ongoing support of Concepts in Yarn and June Grossberg
Shelters appreciate our scarves
Yarn companies continue to be very generous
Delta Sigma Pi fraternity made over 100 scarves
News from our affiliated groups
We need $$$$ for shipping and for a workshop
We appreciate the support of all our participants
And now for the details.
Another astounding month. We delivered just over 1,000 comfort scarves to 40 shelters for abused women throughout S CA. Many people worked hard to prepare all these scarves for delivery. We had two wrap parties where Ann Nye, Chris Needham, Barbara Klein, Pat (Barbara’s friend visiting from Ohio), Enid Malm, Evelyn Dow, Kathy Allen, Linda Friege, Maria Cesca, Maria Denzel, Marie Cortez, Mary Barton, Nancy English, Sharon McCann, and Yumi Wu all wrapped, tied, packaged and taped the 40 boxes of scarves. We had lots of fun even though my family room looked like a warehouse until UPS picked up the packages.
Many of the volunteers who participate in wrapping parties and kit making sessions come from our core group of volunteers who meet at Concepts in Yarn on Wednesday evenings. Thanks to the generosity and dedication of June Grossberg, owner, who encouraged me to go forward with Handmade and start the knitting club under her auspices. June provides two bins: one for kits that need to be knitted and another for finished scarves. When one is full, the other is empty. Our group has grown so much that we crowd around a dining room table with all its leaves in and a card table as well. Many participants come early, just to get a place at the table. Sometimes, we have two seatings. It is a warm, friendly experience. June’s sponsorship and support have been so valuable to the growth and success of Handmade. I must mention my thanks to her again and again.
The directors of the shelters acknowledge the value of receiving comfort scarves in breaking the cycle of low self-esteem/acceptance of domestic violence of their clients. Here are snippets from thank you letters they sent to Handmade:
Luciann Maulhardt, Executive Director of Casa Youth Shelter (Los Alamitos) writes: “we send out deepest appreciation for your most welcome donation of 25 comfort scarves. . . .we consider ourselves truly blessed to have such good friends as you.”
Heather Frizzell at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission writes: “this letter expresses our sincere gratitude for the comfort scarves. The women and little girls here . . . were extremely happy to receive the scarves. They are blessed to know women donated their precious time to make them a special handmade gift. They have been put to use and cherished by many.”
Wanda Carter at Corona Norco Rescue Mission says: “The beautiful scarves arrived yesterday and they are just gorgeous. I know the ladies who received them just love them.”
Annette Kosker, Volunteer Coordinator at YWCA of Glendale, tells us: “thank you for your recent donation of 25 hand made scarves. The work you do brings such joy and warmth to those you touch. It is due to collaboration with generous people like you that we can continue to operate our core programs. . . .to empower women who are victims of domestic violence to move forward and start their lives anew. . . . last year we provided services to 797 women and their children.
We all understand that we couldn’t make 1,000 scarves each month without the generosity of many yarn companies. This month, our regulars (not that we take them for granted)—Susan Druding at Crystal Palace Yarns, Becky Moss at Skacel Collection, and Tymon Warda at Knitting Fever—were joined by Emir Koc from Feza Yarns and Mara Buttarazzi at Westminster Fibres Canada. Incredible, isn’t it. And still not enough. We can’t sit back comfortably, thinking we have enough, not when we need at least enough yarn for 5,000 scarves in November/December. We appreciate the ongoing support of all these companies and hope more will join them making huge contributions. Even though I “complain” that boxes of yarn fill several rooms in my house, I am not really complaining. I am thrilled that Handmade receives so many donations. I appreciate every ball of yarn.
For the past few months, we have been working with Kelly Phan, President of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity at Cal State University, Long Beach. Kelly picked up more than 100 kits so members of her group could make comfort scarves as their community service activity. She brought the finished scarves the night before our second wrapping party. We really needed them to reach our shipping requirements the next day. Thank you so much, Kelly and members of your group. We hope you will continue supporting our project. We need lots and lots of knitters and crocheters.
News from our affiliated groups throughout the US and Canada. Renee Hoffman delivered 20 scarves to Interval House in Long Beach; Ann Miller brought 13 scarves to Family Crisis Service in Canon City and 12 more to the Pueblo YWCA; Barb Kochuba delivered around 80 scarves to shelters throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. She and Marg Grieve (in Nelson BC Canada) both are recovering from carpel tunnel surgery. They’re both slowly getting back to knitting. Vicki Ringer delivered another 15 scarves to Haven Hills in Canoga Park. Members of Vicki’s church expanded their involvement to more than knitting comfort scarves. They help the shelter by adopting families, donating food, and making sure everyone has what they need for special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are so many ways to do good; I’m impressed that Handmade’s volunteers donate in so many ways.
The economic slowdown has even affected Handmade. Many would-be volunteers cannot afford to make a donation to cover the shipping of kits to them. Many ask if we can make an exception in their cases because they have lost their jobs, are looking for work, live on a fixed income, etc. I would love to help them, but as it is, at least 30% of people to whom I send yarn do not repay the cost of the shipping. I think it would be great if we had a buddy system, so those who can afford to do so would donate double the amount of the cost of shipping yarn to them so I could use the extra to pay the shipping of someone who can’t afford to pay their own.
In addition, the cost of shipping itself has skyrocketed, both because Handmade sends comfort scarves so many more shelters and because gasoline prices have increased. This month alone, Handmade spent almost $300 on sending scarves to shelters. Every time we hear that the price of oil has gone up, I shudder, knowing that the cost of sending the scarves out will go up too. If any of you have any contacts at UPS, FedEx, USPS, please tell them about Handmade. We need a better deal on shipping in order to reach our goals.
We are trying to find a space where we can consolidate receiving yarn, yarn storage, kit making, shipping kits, receiving scarves, and shipping scarves to shelters. Having a workshop has been our dream for a long time. Now it is a really urgent need. It has been hard to find a spot. Since all our cash goes to paying for shipping the scarves to shelters, we don’t have cash to pay for rent; so we are limited by searching for a free space. So far, no such luck.
Maybe all this will change, due of course to the generosity and support of our volunteers. This month, Chris Needham and Cindy Hanson each made donations of over $200. Cindy’s employer, Ameriprise Financial, will double the amount she donated. Julie Billings volunteered over 50 hours of knitting last year, so Toyota Financial, her employer, donated $250 to Handmade. These donations are like manna to me. Please check out your company’s donations policies. If they match cash donations and/or reward volunteerism, I hope you will consider Handmade as a recipient. These donations and matching grants have made me more optimistic about our raising enough money to pay rent. If we can do that, we will have a much broader selection of possible workshops. Handmade’s volunteers make everything possible.
We depend on each one of you for Handmade’s continued growth and success. We couldn’t donate so many scarves to so many shelters without your participation. Whatever you do, whether you knit or crochet scarves, share patterns, make kits, donate yarn, money, equipment, spend time winding or wrapping, all are important. Many, many thanks.
Remember, if you want to donate scarves or yarn, please mail to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
If you want to donate $$$$, please send a check to the above address or use the PayPal link on our website www.handmadeespecially.org
Thanks in advance.
501(c)3 EIN: 26-3529292