Where Can I Donate Handmade Baby Items

Sue Morris wrote:

Thank you for the pattern; it’s so nice to be able to knit pretty for our local NICU.

As part of our knit-along for February’s BOBBOL 2013 preemie hat project, several members have helped give suggestions about organizations to which you can voluntarily donate.

Of course, it is always preferred to keep it local if you can. Ideas of how and who to contact within your own community are outlined below.

If you are in a more remote area or one without the extended hospital facilities of large cities, this listing can help connect you with the websites of charity organizations where  you can get the information you need to send your donation.

Thank you so much to those who have responded to my call for preemie hat donation recommendations. If you are reading this and have additional suggestions for charity organizations related to baby items, please leave them in the comments area below.

Local Suggestions

from Carolyn Humes:

Our Knitting Guild and our church knitting group give them to the neo-natal nurses in the local hospitals.

If you don’t know any nurses, give them to the Maternity Ward nurses, they’ll place the hats where they should be.

from Dorothy in Florida:

I went to the Volunteer Office at our local hospital and asked if they needed any baby hats. They responded with a big YES!! So, a friend of mine and me started making them and have donated over 200 already and they still could use more.

from Melissa Harrington:

I am a retired neonatal nurse and as a knitter also, wanted to let you know how appreciated these premie hats are.  Parents cherish them and often keep them with other special mementos. My son was a bit early – I still have his hat tucked away.  As a nurse, I tried to pick the perfect hat to match the baby’s personality!!

I worked at the University of Michigan Health System in what is now the Brandon Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  If you decide to add this unit to your list, know that donations are VERY appreciated.

from Gayle Williams in Huntsville, Alabama:

The Neonatal ICU Unit at our Huntsville Women’s and Children’s Hospital loves to get the hats.  There are several ladies who knit them and either give to our Project Linus coordinator or give them directly to the hospital.  I have a friend at church who works in the unit so I usually give mine to her.

from sandima on ravelry:

Any local hospital in your area that has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit would love to have them…

from Jeanie:

Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful pattern.  We take for granted that these sized hats are only needed by the hospitals but there are so many new moms with preemies in need of these hats and one doesn’t have to look very far.  It appears that there are many among the newbie moms because of health issues and c-sections . . .  Have to make a few in different colors for some preemies locally.

from Linda Conklin:

Your local hospital is always happy to take any baby items.

from Diane L:

I am in Cape Town, South Africa, and i knit for the hospitals and homes.  There is such a demand here and trying to find patterns is not easy so all help is greatly appreciated.

from KTMaine on ravelry:

There’s an organization called CareWear – http://www.carewear.org/ – that has been doing this for a long time. They have a search function where you can find hospitals by state and see what they need. I have been donating to a hospital in Maine for several years, found through this site.

from Donna:

For local places that can use these hats, start with an internet search.

To find places to donate preemie hats, I contacted each of my local hospitals and asked if they could use preemie hats!  Especially hospitals that deal with a lot of low-income people or government funded hospitals.  Also those near Native American reservations.  These hospitals tend to have more preemies born and don’t tend to get the donations of hand-made items.

If the hats are made a little larger for newborns, the above hospitals can use them as well (that hat might be the only thing a baby has to wear).  Besides those, contact local organizations that deal with pregnant teens (if a web search doesn’t help, your local high school counseling office may be willing to help you).  Some of these places provide items to newborns.

You can also contact the “Family Services” center for your religion (or any other religion).  There may be other organizations that also provide family services.  I did an internet search of “Family Services” and the name of my city and state and came up with quite a list.  Not all of these places will be able to use preemie/newborn hats, but some probably would.  If you don’t have any luck with that, you can try contacting your local city hall, police department, or fire department.

If you are near a military base, their family services area may also be able to use newborn hats.  In the case of the military bases, the families are usually not near any loved ones, so the hat is more emotional support than physical support.  In some cases, the father may not even be around because he is deployed.

It may take some work, but the rewards in finding local places that can use your items is very rewarding.

I heard from one hospital that my hats and booties were the only warm things the babies had to wear home.  The only other thing they had to wear home was the paper from the exam tables!  At another hospital, the parents of the preemies received a hat or pair of booties to help provide hope that their babies will get well enough to need these items.  In another hospital, the items went to the angels that had already gone home to Heaven.  When the parents felt so alone because of their loss, that someone cared enough to make their angel something special was a kind of hug.

Charity Organizations

Care Wear
Care Wear is a nationwide group of volunteers who knit, crochet, and/or sew, providing handmade baby items to hospitals. All Care Wear items are given free to infants, children and their parents.

Stitches from The Heart
Charitable donations of knitted, crocheted, and loomed hats, blankets, booties to ship to NICU hospitals for premature preemie and full-term babies.

The Preemie Project
Booties, Bonnets & Blankets for Premature Babies.

Project Linus
Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”

HSC Pediatric Center
A message from Courtney Arseneault, Child life specialist at HSC Pediatric Center

From Barbara Collins:

CARE WEAR is a wonderful organization that is based here in Maryland.  Run by Bonnie Hagerman who is a lovely woman.

You can go there and find all sorts of patterns and people doing everything!! They knit and crochet for babies primarily and also do something for service people and nursing homes.  I have supported them for years.

Thanks so much for this baby hat pattern — last year I crocheted 365 for our local hospital!! :-)

From roamingknitter on Ravelry:

An online group of Texas knitters once had a preemie hat project with donations sent to Stitches From The Heart. I knit many tiny preemie caps for that project.

From Judy Gibson:

Stitches from the Heart is the one I donate to!

From Chris Miller:

I belong to a group called The Preemie Project. We donate to hospital here in Iowa. New moms love to receive things for their little ones. Our group can be found online. I’m sure you can find others, too.