Each month, we feature a charity using yarncrafts to help people -- and in this case, animals. This month, we feature The Snuggles Project, a special project of Hugs for Homeless Animals.
Founder of Hugs for Homeless Animals, a 501c3 nonprofit charity, Rae French (a knitter and crocheter), was inspired to create the Snuggles Project in 1996 to provide comfort to animals in shelters. She got the idea of making security blankets to provide shelter animals with physical and psychological comfort. "It's the physical and the psychological benefit of the snuggles that helps the animals get adopted and hold onto hope longer," Rae said.
Individuals make (by knitting, crocheting, sewing, or quilting) "snuggles," donate them to their local shelters, and report them to the Snuggles Project, which keeps track of the donations. In the last 12 years, people participating in the Snuggles Project have donated over 500,000 security blankets to shelters worldwide. Rae also told us that one of the side benefits of this project is that it is a great community building project. Everyone from children to the elderly are able to particpate. She said that forming a group locally is a great way to bridge the cross-generational gap and to connect with each other.
|Photo Courtesy of Hugs for Homeless Animals © 2007|
The blankets are put on the ground of pens in shelters, so that the animals have a warm and comfortable place to rest. Rae told us that sometimes new shelters are hesitant to put the beautiful handiworks on the ground, but it's important to remember that while the blankets are often elaborate and beautiful, the purpose is really to provide these animals with comfort while they are in the shelters.
Patterns for the blankets and the "Snug Harbor" can be found in the Snuggles Project website. Rae recommended acrylic yarns because they're machine washable and are better for reusability in the shelters. Cotton is also good, but wool can be problematic because it traps scents and is usually not machine washable. She reminded us that the important things to remember is that the blanket should be cushy -- using two strands on big needles or a big crochet hook is very effective. Also keep in mind that open stitches are not recommended, since the blankets need to provide warmth on concrete shelter floors and the animals should not be able to get tangled in them.
To learn more about the Snuggles Project, see their patterns, donate, or find a shelter in your area, visit their website at SnugglesProject.org or send a #10 self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Hugs for Homeless Animals
ATTN: The Snuggles Project
PO Box 320245
Franklin, WI 53132-6031