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Guest Post: Shoe Box Aid And Other Great Charity Giving Ideas

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Want to be more pro-active about what you give to charity? Don’t have time to volunteer but want to be able to do something real? Can’t get out and want a worthwhile project you can do at home? Want to do something the kids can get involved with? There are many ways of giving to charity beyond simply doling out money (although charities do need this too).  Here are some great ideas for ways that you can make a difference by doing something real for charity.
Shoe Box Aid
Shoe box aid is an initiative started in 2001 by Smile International. The idea of the Christmas Shoe Box is to give a gift box to a disadvantaged child in a deprived region. The charity ships thousands of shoe boxes filled with age and sex appropriate gifts and wrapped in gift paper to disadvantaged children all over the world. The website tells you what kind of gifts are suitable to put in your box – these include items like soap, crayons, combs, note books and small toys. Children love to get involved and feel that they are reaching out to someone in another country.
Knitting for change
If you like knitting or crocheting then Knit a Square might be the charity initiative for you. Knit a square collects knitted squares to make into blankets for Aids orphans. Their website has details of the size of squares required and where to post them to. For a charity closer to home you might  think about knitting for Oxfam. Oxfam sells hand knitted items like blankets, hats, gloves and jumpers in its shops and at music festivals – where a hand knitted blanket can sell for as much as £35. More details can be found on their website.
Loving Hands
Loving Hands was started in 2007 by Lou Jaap. Loving hands brings together knitters and sewing enthusiasts from around the world. The website has a list of current projects and patterns and is regularly updated. There is also an online forum where you can chat to other crafters. Loving hands currently has more than eight thousand members and supports many charities in the UK and abroad. Current projects include knitted blankets, toy sheep, hats, summer clothing for children in Africa and quilts and coats for dogs.
Sew good
If sewing is more your cup of tea you might want to look at Making for Charity. Making for charity is looking for crafty people interested in volunteering England or across the UK to make pretty fabric bags for holding syringe drivers for cancer patients or making personal effects bags for delivering personal effects to loved ones. These items have been requested by Macmillan nurses.
More knitting…
Charity knitting initiatives are too numerous to mention here but if you want a bigger list go to  the website of the UK Hand Knitting Association where you can find lots of fun charity knitting projects ranging from knitting Staffies for Battersea Dogs’ Home to knitting animal and insect puppets for schools in Nigeria, and a whole host of other things besides.
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Sam Wright is a freelance writer working for Third Sector
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