Thanks to volunteer knitters and award-winning author, Debbie Macomber, the program has delivered items to over half a million children in need.
by- Posted on Jan 8, 2021
For millions of children around the world—vulnerable and living in poverty, many in dangerously cold climates—keeping warm throughout the year is a struggle. That’s where Knit for Kids steps in.
The program, which began in 1996 by Guideposts before being turned over in 2009 to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, distributes hand-knit or crocheted sweaters, caps, scarves and blankets to families in need.
“A handmade item is not something these kids are usually getting, so to be gifted a piece that somebody put love into stitch by stitch, while thinking of you is really powerful for them,” Lauren Fisher, World Vision’s Director of Public Relations told Guideposts.org. “This is a way to fulfill the crafting urge knitters have while combining it with the opportunity to help others.”
The items are knitted or crocheted by thousands of nation-wide volunteers who have heard of the initiative through Guideposts or World Vision. They’re given the option of choosing one of six available patterns on the Knit for Kids website and then mail their completed knitted items to the program’s sorting facility in Pennsylvania, where these are processed and delivered to destinations throughout the world, including Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
Guideposts’ longtime friend, Debbie Macomber, serves as World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. The best-selling novelist, who is an avid knitter, brings knitters together by providing them with ways of giving back using their love for knitting. She’s previously owned a yarn store, wrote an entire series about a knitting shop and has hosted knitting events, such as knitting cruises and reader retreats.
“Through the years of meeting my readers, I’ve come to realize many of them are crafters, and they all come with a generous heart,” Macomber said. “Every item they create contains love within it.”
Knitting with Love
Love was not the only thing the Knit for Kids items brought Lyness Kholomana and her twins, Glory and Praise, from Malawi; the baby blankets also provided her comfort and hope.
“It’s difficult to get all we need as a family,” Kholomana told World Vision. “And it is not easy to give something to someone these days, but these people were able to give to people they do not even know.”
Kholomana’s family were one of many families chosen as beneficiaries, which according to World Vision, all received baby blankets in an effort to improve the wellbeing of children in the community.
The organization also provided the Mikayelyan family, from Armenia, with warm clothing as well as blankets and pillows during a time in which they couldn’t afford rent or clothes.
“The old clothes were so worn out, we burned them for heat,” Sarine Khachatryan, the maternal grandmother who lives with the family, told World Vision. “It’s good to be reminded to show love and respect, to teach children to be peaceful and to get along well with others.”
Knitting During Covid Pandemic
In 2019, Knit for Kids shipped 128,429 hand-crafted items to over half a million children in need all around the world. The items—accepted year-round—are distributed to locations where the need is the greatest.
Most recently, World Vision again teamed up with Macomber to protect families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Macomber is rallying her community of crafters by giving them the opportunity to make and donate masks to families in need. This project assists low-income families who can’t afford masks, which are required to attend church, work, school or the grocery store.
Knit for Kids hopes to continue connecting knitters and crafters with others who desperately need the items they’re producing. According to Macomber, knitters benefit in knowing they have given away a part of themselves with the products they’re creating.
“They are making the world a better place, one loving item at a time.”