In 1991, Evie Rosen of Wausau, Wisconsin, came up with a genius idea: why not set up a foundation where knitters and crocheters can send in squares that then are combined to make blankets for the needy? Everyone has extra stash yarn that can be turned to this purpose, and everyone has the time to knit a square or two in between other projects. Thus was born Warm Up America, a charity that provides knitted garments and blankets to people all over the world.
Today, the foundation has grown – it now sponsors a number of different projects based on current events and on-going needs. After the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the organization put out a call for afghans and afghan squares to be sent to displaced people on the Gulf Coast. At the same time, Warm Up America reached beyond national borders to send preemie caps to Africa. 2018 campaigns to date include ‘build-a-bed’ donations for children in Kentucky, caps for the neo-natal unit of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Texas, and afghans for seniors in Ohio.
Warm Up America! Has ongoing need of finished blankets of all sizes (receiving, lap, child, adult) as well as for baby clothing, adult hats, and scarves. The foundation prefers items that have been created from acrylic yarn; however, it will accept pieces made from washable wool. Remember that the finished items will be going to those without the resources to care for luxury fabrics – easy-care is important.
While knitters can send these directly to the distribution center in Carrollton, Texas, the foundation encourages people to find organizations in their own community that could use donations. Ideas and hints are given on the Warm Up America website, including suggestions for Girl Scout, church, synagogue, mosque, or high school service projects. We tend to forget easily, but every community has women’s and homeless shelters that can use warm knitted items. Warm Up America also accepts cash donations from those who can’t or don’t knit.
Evie Rosen passed away in 2012, but her spirit lives on within the organization she started with a friend. If you’re between projects, why not go through your stash and find some easy-care yarn? It doesn’t take a long time to make a baby blanket or cap. If you have friends that knit, why not band together and make an afghan using instructions from the Warm Up America website? Knitters are a generous group; here’s another way for us to make a difference in the world.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Warm Up America.