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How to Improve Quality of Life for Veterans through Knitting

Your charity knitting can bring comfort and warmth to veterans through the HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project

Charity knitting for veterans - HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project

Do you ever wonder if your charity knitting is really making a difference?

As a charity knitter, it can be frustrating to deliver or send a donation to a charity and then a) wonder if it was received, b) wonder if it was appreciated, and/or c) wonder if it was used.

So let’s bring some encouragement on in here! This is a letter received by a knitting charity called the HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project, written by one of the veterans’ homes to which they had donated.

I want to take the time to sincerely thank you for your donation.

With nearly 500 veterans living at the home, your donation of 60 afghans, 30 propping pillows, 2 hats, 1 scarf, and 3 pairs of socks will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for our residents, especially as we deal with the impacts of the pandemic.

On behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for helping us make a positive difference. Your incredible support encourages our veterans to live life to their fullest while helping our staff truly “serve those who served!”

I don’t know about you, but a letter like that brings tears to my eyes! What a wonderful reminder of the positive impact charity knitting can make on the lives of so many.

Serving Those Who Served: the HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project

I first heard of this group when one of its founders, Jan Wilcox, wrote to me with this message:

[Our group] makes afghans for injured servicepersons, homeless veterans and vets in veterans homes. We collect knitted and crocheted 6 x 9 rectangles and hold design events 2 times a year to combine them into twin size afghans.

We have a Facebook group if you would like to check us out. Closed group but just ask to join. My sister Annette and I started this group after a previous group that we were with disbanded.”

The group is no longer private; it’s now open to the public. And taking a look at the delightful photos (as well as cards and letters like the one quoted earlier) is truly an exercise in inspiration! You can check out the group here.

HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project - charity knitting for veterans
Photo: HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project

The HAPpy Stitchers’ directors are based in Ohio, and as such they send their projects to veterans homes in the state. They send afghans and propping pillows primarily to the Sandusky Veterans Home, but they sometimes send to other nursing homes as well.

The group’s activities have changed a bit since its inception. Sadly, Jan’s sister Annette–who once assisted her in designing afghans with the rectangles they received–passed away in 2020. So now, the group is accepting afghans already designed and sewn (or crocheted) together. They are continuing to take afghans and pillows to veterans!

How You Can Help the HAPpy Stitchers’ Mission

If you love to create afghans, especially afghans with lots of magnificent colors and textures, this is the group for you! And, of course, if you want to help improve the quality of life for veterans, this is an outstanding way to do so.

The HAPpy Stitchers guidelines are pretty simple. They request no overly hole-y or lacy patterns, no pastel colors, and no peace symbols or yellow stars. Be sure to use only 100% washable acrylic yarn.

HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project - charity knitting for veterans
Photo: HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project

You’ll want to join the Facebook group if you would like to participate. In addition to information about the group, you’ll find nonstop inspiration in the form of photos of beautifully made afghans. You can also find patterns for squares in the comments of the pinned post at the top of the group.

To get the shipping address, just send a private message to Jan.

This is such a wonderful way to improve the quality of life and provide comfort and encouragement to veterans. I hope you’ll consider creating afghans for the HAPpy Stitchers!

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  1. Charity knitting is not only rewarding to me…..but, I also know in my heart that they are received with gratitude and love. Finding the RIGHT organization is the key to our giving.
    Chemo hats are in great need–I have a volunteer with our local Senior Citizen location who is willing (and able) to locate local hospitals, etc. and distributes each one. We have “Bear Closet” (for low-income moms….blankets, hats, books, etc–who are most appreciative of receiving knit/crochet, sewing, items for infants. Jennifer is an “angel”, literally and is wonderful with knowing who WILL accept and in turn, give to them. 2023 is my 5th year to knit beanies for Operation Gratitude–not only do I receive a thank you upon receipt of gifts, but, I have received a personal(!) thank you for two soldiers! Now, this truly warms my heart. I HIGHLY recommend OG–check it out on the internet!!! OPERATION GRATITUDE.COM
    PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP ON HELPING OTHERS–there always seems to be a “rotten apple”
    in life!! Charity knitting has been more rewarding and makes me feel good–I have family/friends who have NEVER acknowledged even receiving my gifts! Now, that really SUCKS and truly leaves sour spot for me. So many need OUR help-please, please, never give up!!! Thank you. Sandra
    P.S. charities listed on Nicole’s list are a start! You go girl….and, guys, too!!

  2. Can I contact this organization, HAPpy Stitchers’ , by email? I am not on Facebook but am very much interested in knitting rectangles for the veterans.

    I did see an email on the Facebook page shown above, but it seems to not be valid.

    Thanks so much,

  3. Hello! My 90 yr old mom likes to spend time knitting & she has about 135 or so squares ready to be donated. Pl let us know where & how I can mail them.
    Other details of your group will also be interesting to read about

  4. Are you now excepting squares for happy stitchers afghan project,? Please let me know as soon as possible as we are ready to send out items. Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna, I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment till just now. Can you see the group now? It’s a closed group, so you normally aren’t able to view it until they approve your request to join. But my experience is that they approve new requests quickly. Let me know if you still can’t see it!

  5. To: Jan
    I would like the address to send my squares for the military.

    Thank you for all you do.

  6. To: Jan

    I would like to knit and crochet squares for the Servicemen. Please send me information.

    Thank you very much!!!

  7. My mother was a knitter and has passed away. I have all her knitting needles and would love to donate them to a place that will put them to good use for the benefit of others, ie: Knitting for Charity. Can this organization take used knitting needles? How do I make that donation?

    1. Hi Deanna! I double-checked the group’s pinned post, and I know they’ll take your mother’s needles. I’ve taken the liberty of passing your e-mail address to one of the group’s leaders and explaining to her what you would like to do. Thank you so much for your willingness to pay your mother’s hobby forward! 🙂