This post is a bit different from most that we post, but I thought you might be interested in learning about some ways crafts like knitting and crochet can make big differences in people’s lives. If you are yourself a crafter, like I am, you might want to check these out and possibly get involved.
One of the most well know of the opportunities to contribute with yarn crafts is the Prayer Shawl ministry. Many churches, including ours and my mother’s, have Prayer Shawl ministries affiliated with them. Shawls are knitted or crocheted and gifted to folks in a painful or stressful time in their life to serve as a tangible representation of the love and arms of God, wrapped around one when one is hurting or needing a little extra love. The shawls are prayed over as they are made and usually also dedicated by a minister/pastor or dedicated in a church service before they are given to the recipient. The prayers are imbued in the fabric of the shawl and recipients can feel the presence and love of God surrounding them when they wear the shawl. There are many patterns available for prayer shawls, many in books published by Lion Brand yarn, but it isn’t the pattern that makes it a Prayer Shawl, but the prayers that it carries to comfort the hearts and spirits of those who receive them.
Another ministry that reaches out with hand knitted items is the Guideposts magazine’s Knit for Kids program. Guideposts has a freely available pattern that knitters from all over the place use to make sweaters, send them to Guideposts, which then sends them to needy children in 3rd world countries. The pattern uses scraps and ends of yarn to create brightly colored stripes in the sweaters that kids love.
Yet a third ministry, that I’ve only recently learned about is Krochet Kids International (Krochetkids.org or Krochetkids@LionBrandYarn). This ministry was started by some teens a few years ago and teaches primarily women in underdeveloped countries to knit and crochet items of clothing which are then sold to provide those families with income to support themselves.
One I’ve seen several times at local craft shows and festivals is one which does something similar to Krochet Kids, although with paper beads that are then made into jewelry and sold. Unfortunately I can’t at this time recall the name of the ministry nor can I find the business card I picked up to share it with you. Perhaps they have a chapter in your area and you can remind me of the information, if you see them out at shows where you are!
I’m quite sure there must be other ministries that do similar things with various handicrafts that I am not aware of. If you know of any, let us know – I’d love to help spread the word about these wonderful ministries of empowerment that go far beyond a hand-out, to give people in need a way to support themselves and their families. As the old proverb goes – give someone a fish and they eat for a day, teach them to fish and they eat for the rest of their lives (or something like that – you get the idea!). Helping someone create a business and source of income goes so much further than giving them a hand-out. They become more self sufficient, have their pride and self-esteem restored, and can, over time, become someone who then can themselves help others. I encourage you, when you find such ministries, get involved, purchase their products, if you are able, and make a difference through empowering needy people to support themselves and their families.
I’d also like to know about other ministries that enable crafters to contribute, through a craft they enjoy doing, to making a difference through the gifting of hand-made items to those who need them. A dedicated crafter can often produce far more of whatever they enjoy making than they can find homes for, without overloading their loved ones with the fruits of their loving labor!
Be blessed to be a blessing,