Before the holiday season, we hear of so many ways to give back or help those in need. But don’t put away your charitable spirit when you’re packing up your Christmas decorations. It’s really easy to make a small yet significant difference right in your own community. These projects take a few hours and can be delivered to your local animal shelter, nursing home or homeless shelter. Some of them are very kid-friendly so the whole family can help out together!
These fleece lap blankets are incredibly easy to make. You just need a few yards of microweight fleece and scissors to assemble these. Gather up a group of friends and spend an afternoon knotting enough blankets for an assisted living home. During the chilly months, these little blankets will come in handy during chess games and nightly views of Jeopardy.
If you’ve got sewing skills, make a couple walker caddys for those with special needs. With front and back pockets, these useful carryalls keep items like reading glasses and mobile phones accessible. Melly Sews shares her tutorial and also has one for a cup holder.
If you’re cleaning out your closets, repurpose a stack of old t-shirts into pet toys. You can make four to five toys using three different t-shirts, or you could make two toys with just one t-shirt. What I like about this Redfly Creations project is that children can easily make a dozen of them in an hour and enjoy delivering them to the animal shelter. It’s a great lesson in humanitarian efforts.
Animal shelters tend to use small quilts or blankets (also called cage comforters) to give animals a soft bed. These mini-quilts can also provide comfort and security to dogs and cats when they’re adopted and transition to their new homes. Use up leftover pieces of fabric and batting to craft these cage comforters, but be sure to check in with neighborhood shelter before you get to work. Check out Sew Can She for details on this wonderful service project.
When the temperatures dip, these no-slip socks will go faster than hot cakes at a local shelter or an assisted living home. All you need are cotton socks and puffy paint to make this easy winter essential. Wash and dry socks on high heat. Flatten the socks with the heel facing up, and start applying the paint, drawing flowers, stripes, hearts, stars or polka dots. Have fun with it and use contrasting colors or multiple tubes of puffy paint for a fun look. Let dry and give it to someone who’ll appreciate warm toes on chilly nights.
Jamielyn of I Heart Napkin has a tutorial for DIY pocket hand warmers that would offer relief during January’s frigid nights. Make these by repurposing old flannel shirts or sweaters, or microfleece fabric. The rice filling is great at holding heat.
This project caught my eye recently, and I really love how simple it is to carry out! Gather pairs of knit gloves, scarves and beanies, and stuff gallon-size storage bags with the winter accessories. Write a note on the outside with a marker and hang them around the neighborhood. Or you can take a page from Chase the Chill and organize an event where everyone brings extra scarves to donate.
Let me know in the comments if you’re taking on any of these projects this winter. I’ll share photos and details in another blogpost in a few weeks. Let’s do good in small and simple ways that make a difference locally!