Here's the story...
I wanted to do more, whatever that might mean. I didn't have a clue what that "more" might be. Knitting is a huge part of my life. It's my zen, my creativity, and my day is a lost one without knitting in it. I spin, too, but it's more of a guilty pleasure. It's the thing I'd like to get better at while knitting is really my thang, my jam, my outlet. When I see people like Mandi Guadian and her family, or Dottie Moyer and her group go to such altruistic lengths to try to help people, I want to help them help others.
It became a more urgent cause when Mandi's mom, Debbie, had a stroke. We all thought she would pull through - she was always so incredibly strong about everything. I started a love blanket in her special colors. However, she passed not too long after her stroke. I asked Mandi if she wanted the blanket or if I should do something else in Debbie's name. She liked the idea of making things for babies out of that yarn. I made a butt-ton of sleep sacks, hats, and added many, many preemie hats from left over yarn. Then I was lost. What do I do with all of this? I called my local hospitals and none of them seemed interested. That really surprised me. Why wouldn't my local NICU want my beautiful things?
There are a lot of reasons why some NICUs might accept all kinds of items and others don't want any. It comes down to this: Do they have time to sort through what you give them? Some will have a very specific list of requirements. I like that and will make sure I only donate what they want. Some say "no" to everything because they're just too busy to manage it. That's okay, too. I'd rather hear "no" than for someone to just take my adorable little things and toss them.
I wound up sending all my things to Greg of the Unraveling Podcast, KnittingDaddy on Ravelry. Here's what he said about preemie donations (and he's SUPER smart about it - go read his story on his page...now...go do it!):
The best way to support my preemie hat efforts is to donate hats to their local NICUs. Requirements vary by hospital, so everyone will have to do a little research for it.
The second best way to support it is to buy my Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat pattern. 100% of the pattern sales generated by that pattern are donated to the Family Support Network of Central Carolina, which is the organization that was so helpful for our family when Blueberry was born. (Not-so-)Coincidentally, I have been on the Board since a year after Blueberry was born and currently serve as Board Chair for the organization.
Awesome, right? So, here's the deal - please message me with any great information on charities. It doesn't have to be charities that accept handmade things. I'm going to turn this page into a big bouncing off point to all these great people and organizations. As soon as y'all get some info to me, I'll just make this whole story a link, too. I have a big problem with endless verbage on webpages. Seriously, it gives me a tick.