Look what arrived on my doorstep today! Lots and lots of yarn. I've been feeling the need to knit for charity for a few months now. But not just any charity. I've been wanting to knit for homeless LGBT youth.
Did you know that somewhere between 5 and 10% of youth in the US identify as LGBT, but 20-40% of homeless youth are LGBT? Approximately 26% of LGBT kids are kicked out of their homes when they come out. They are also significantly more likely to be sexually assaulted, become addicted to drugs, to be forced to turn to sex work for survival, or to attempt suicide. They're even more at risk for abuse from shelter staff than their heterosexual counterparts. (That there is any abuse of anyone by shelter staff makes me sick to my stomach.)
These are kids who need help. They need to know that there are people out there who care about them. And they need to be warm. So I'm knitting for them. Right now I'm positively obsessed with hats. I've knit two in the last two days, and I have two more that I knit in January with the intention to donate. All that yarn in the picture above will be hats soon. After that there will be scarves and cowls and fingerless mitts.
So far I have one place identified to send these items-- Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. There's a woman who collects knit and crochet donations all year long to go into holiday gift packages for the kids. I've also contacted an LGBT youth center here in Indianapolis to see if they have a need for hats and scarves for their clients, or know of a program in the area that does. (I'd really like to keep at least some of this local.) And I've found programs in Iowa, Michigan, New York, and Nevada that look like they could use handknits. I'll have to contact them and see if they have any specific needs or guidelines for donations.
If you know of any LGBT programs in your area that could use handknits, please let me know and I'll add them to my list to contact. And please, consider making a few yourself if you're crafty, or finding other ways to support this population. They sure as hell need all the kindness and support they can get.
And now, I'm going to cast on for another hat.