I got involved in making comfort scarves for abused women because my granddaughters couldn't wear any more hand knit or crocheted items from me. I checked on line and found there are many organizations making socks for children in orphanages in cold climates and hats for preemies but I didn't find anyone making anything for abused women. As I checked more, I found they are really a forgotten group. And that's how they feel about themselves. They feel worthless and unworthy of anything nice or beautiful. Most of them have never received a personal gift, much less a handmade personal gift. So my organization really caught on--especially as our economy worsened. More people want to contribute scarves and yarn; more shelters want the scarves. I started last October bringing 25 scarves to one shelter in San Pedro, CA. Last week I distributed 200 scarves to 5 shelters all over Los Angeles. It looks like we will have even more for April, which several shelters say they will put in their Easter baskets. And we plan on having many, many more in May, just in time for Mother's Day. Recipients' favorite scarves are those made from Homespun, Lion Boucle, and Fun Fur. Here is my March newsletter, complete with a photo of me surrounded by scarves!
March 15, 2009
So much news to share this month I hardly know where to start. First and foremost, last week, thanks to all of your energy and creativity, we distributed 200 scarves!
Because we had so many scarves, we were able to add two new shelters: Haven Hills in the Valley and Good Shepherd Shelter in downtown Los Angeles. I hope we will be able to keep the numbers up so we can continue to add more shelters.
Haven Hills (www.havenhills.org) provides secure shelter for 30 women for 30 days during which time participants undergo a 30-day counseling program which makes them eligible for an 18-month month transitional housing and employment program. Refugio Sanchez, Facilities Manager, writes about our “comfort scarves”: “Wow, that’s amazing. It’s really a great thing what your organization does to lift the spirits of the women who receive the gifts.”
Good Shepherd Shelter (www.goodshepherdshelter.org) has facilities for 12 families. Sr. Anne Kelly, administrator, says: “ We currently have 12 women in the shelter with about 40 children. Their lives are hard, so friendly gestures (such as our scarves) help to build their confidence and hope. “
Our scarves are still in demand at our original three shelters. Judy Hessick, Director of Development at Rainbow Services (www.rainbowservicesdv.org), tells me their clients really love the scarves. When I brought scarves to her this past week, she immediately started dividing them to have some for both their shelters. Allison Tanaka, Volunteer Coordinator, at Richstone Family Center (www.richstonefamily.org) plans to put the scarves in the Easter baskets she distributes as does Shelly Ross, Outreach Coordinator at 1736 Family Crisis Center (www.1736familycrisiscenter.org). Shelly says she distributes at minimum 70 baskets. Right now she has only 40 scarves, so we have to get busy!
Vicki has helped organize a Valley chapter of Handmade. She has collected scarves from several Valley donors and delivered them to Haven Hills. She took her 5-year old granddaughter with her when she went to Haven Hills which made the trip even more meaningful for her. Valley knitters and crocheters should contact Vicki (VickiRinger@aol.com when you have scarves/and or yarn to contribute.
As I said in the previous newsletter, I feel women’s groups at churches and synagogues are a good resource for finding knitters and crocheters. Elaine, at Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach, invited me to participate in Mitzvah Day (in honor of her son who died 4 years ago while hiking in Spain). Handmade joined many groups which provide services to the community. A small group of women joined me in knitting scarves on the spot—in only two to three hours, enjoying fun conversation all the while. Elaine still has scarf kits to give to volunteers who didn’t attend Mitzvah Day or want to make more scarves. I feel Temple Menorah will be an ongoing supplier of scarves.
To our growing group of OVER THE TOP KNITTERS, (Annie, Arline, Auntie “D”, Leslye, Sharon, and Tammy) we add Vicki, Lisa and the Wednesday Night Knitters at Concepts in Yarn. Keep up the good work, everyone. We need every scarf, as you can see from our growing number of shelters who want them.
Keith has designed our website, www.handmadeespecially.org. It is still in progress but closer to completion than it was last month. It will have knitting and crochet patterns, some new photos, a place where we can share tips, lists of donors, participants, and shelters. Any suggestions of what more you’d like to find?
I actually have opened the bank account. The balance still is small, but was enriched this month by donations from Elaine P. and Susan M. Once the website is up and running (we paid in advance for an entire year) we’ll apply for the 501(c)3. Everything takes time and money. We need whatever you can donate of either, or both.
If you do want to donate scarves or yarn or if you need to send a check, please mail to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
We did set another record for scarf delivery in March Hope we can do it again in April. Thanks to all of you, I think we will.