The Red Scarf Project, a project of the Orphan Foundation of America, or Orphan.org, collects scarves to send in Valentine's Day care packages to college students who have aged out of foster care. These brave young people are going it on their own and trying to improve their lives and the community by attending college. The care packages are welcome tokens of encouragement to young people who otherwise receive little to no mail.
Your scarf should be soft (any material), unisex design, and approximately 60 inches long by 5 to 8 inches wide. Machine washable is a plus, but it is not absolutely necessary.
Mail it to:
Orphan Foundation of America
The Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
..but not until September 1, 2009-December, 2009.
Please read all the info in this blog. Most of your questions will be answered here.
Also, please check out the Red Scarf Ravelry group.
If you still have questions that remain unanswered, please email me at email@example.com
Soon I hope to have a proper blog dedicated to the 2008 Red Scarf project (I'm waiting for some art work from the Orphan Foundation) but in the meantime, please read about it in my regular blog here and get started with your red scarves, your gift cards, and your notes of encouragement.
I will be forwarding photos for you
to post of our students. They took them themselves and sent them in. They are
so delighted and many of the students should be receiving their Care Package
with the Red Scarf right about now.. We remain very busy with volunteers and
plans to send the scarves out for Valentine’s and throughout the month of
February. We received a large amount of mailings the last two weeks and we are
busy as elves trying to open and sort the scarves. There are boxes piled to the
ceiling both in our storage space across the street and in our offices. The
best news is that the scarves will reach more older foster youth than we could
hope for across the country giving them a message of care and the awareness
that the option of education and opportunity is alive and well. It will be a
few weeks before we can post a Red Scarf Scrapbook for 2007 on our site, but
because of your blog and the amazing spirit of its “members”, we
wanted you to get the first photos. We are so very touched by the impact and
the meaning that each and every one of the scarves represents. We cherish all
the Valentines, candy, stamps and gift cards that came with them, too! Those
items are very helpful. Warmest regards to all and THANK YOU from the bottom of
our “redscarfhearts”! - All of us at OFA
AND NOW FOR SOME CUTE OVERLOAD. For your pleasure, emails and photos from some more recipients:
Hi! I absolutely adore my scarf. It is the coolest yarn i have ever seen [ed. note: It's Fun Fur!!]. I
love it!!!!Thank you so much for all the other goodies too. Sam
This is Sam. Gorgeous! (click on the thumbnails for larger photos.)
The packing and shipping days at the OFA are Feb. 5th and Feb. 7th, and we have far surpassed the goal of 2,500 scarves. (by a multiple of three!)
If you haven't mailed your scarf yet, please hold it for next year or give it to another worthy cause. You might want to consider your local homeless shelter or women's shelter, or send it to the Dulaan Project. There are always worthy charities that are waiting to receive your handknits.
Or keep it as a ready-made holiday present for next year, OR wear it yourself. You deserve it!
Thank you to all the wonderful knitters and crocheters who participated. I can't wait for next year!
This is an excerpt from an email I received today from Annalisa, the National Events Coordinator at OFA.
Are you sitting down? You'd better sit.
You can report that we have hit over 5500 [scarves received] and expect
6500 by week's end. We are developing additional Care Package events to pack up
the scarves to not only send to OFA students but to older foster youth across
the country who live in foster and group homes. The scarves will be enclosed in
a hearts cellophane gift bag and sent with Valentine candy, Otis Spunkmeyer
cookies and homemade Valentines. Fed Ex is our GENEROUS shipping sponsor!
...we are full up with joy and care and thank our lucky starts this
is what we do for “work!”
Annalisa says she will follow up with more info later, but as you can well imagine, they are crazy-busy at the moment, taking care of all this.
Ahem. Power of the Blog? We need not even question it anymore, I'd say. A big round of applause for all of us! We'll await further word of news from Annalisa.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive in emails, especially lately:
"I just found out about the project. It's too late for me to knit a scarf this year, but will you be doing it again in 2008?"
Here's my stock multi-part answer:
a) Are you sure it's too late? There is another week and a half. Are you sure you can't make a scarf in a week and a half? Even a bulky one? You can mail them up until the beginning of February. The packing-up sessions are February 5th and 7th. USPS Priority Mail packages arrive from anywhere in the country in a maximum of 3 days. I bet you can do it if you put your mind to it.
and b) I do not know if the project will be repeated in 2008. As far as I am aware, this is the second year for the project. Last year I learned about it with two weeks' notice. I sent three scarves, as did many, many of my blog friends. This year we learned about the project with much advance notice -- last September, as I recall. It seems to have been a resounding success, and if I were a betting woman, I'd bet that it will continue.
I have not received the definitive word from the national coordinator of the program, but as soon as I do, I will announce it in this-here blog. For my part, I intend to continue the blog -- or more appropriately, start a Red Scarf 2008 blog -- if I'm given the word that the project will continue. It has been a ton of fun for me to give a home for the photos of the scarves and a central place for sharing information.
The people involved in the OFA headquarters are a tad bit busy right now, and my guess is they have not been able to think ahead as to next year. They are busy receiving the packages (which will exponentially intensify this week, I am sure), logging in all the pertinent info, packing them up, and getting them ready to mail. Their volunteers go to a lot of effort to make a beautiful presentation. Each scarf is checked to be sure it is in the right size range, to be sure that all ends are woven in, etc., and then it is packed in a decorative Valentine-themed cello bag, to get ready to go in the care package. If a scarf is clearly very feminine or masculine, the volunteers try to sort out those things so hopefully a big hunky male football player doesn't receive a boa scarf, for example. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I wonder if those accidents do happen, what with the ambiguity of kids' names now, but I digress.
In short, I'd say plan on it. Start checking your stash or yarn sales for appropriate yarns. What's the worst that can happen? You can have some ready-made gifts for yourself or someone else, or you could donate the scarves to some other worthy cause. Go ahead, I dare you: Knit red scarves!
Happy New Year! The scarf or scarves you sent in last year were so appreciated by us and no doubt by our students who raved and sent in photo after photo of the scarf that arrived for Valentine’s Day! Thank you again.
The packages of scarves are starting to arrive and we hope you have sent or are planning to send in one or a couple of your lovely creations. Please send by January 31, 2007 to the address below c/o “Care Package”.
You may include attached a note of encouragement, gift card, book of stamps or candy.
If you need more details, please go to www.orphan.org and click on the Red Scarf logo. You will easily see the Red Scarf info.
Our best to you in the New Year and thank you again for your support of foster youth and their futures! Best, Annalisa and all of us at OFA
National Events Coordinator
Orphan Foundation of America
21351 Gentry Drive, Suite 130
Sterling, Virginia 20166
I got very busy at the end of the week, and I think I may have missed some scarves for the gallery. Please, if you notice that yours is not in there, will you let me know? Thanks, everyone! By the way, may I just say that everyone has been awesome, without me even asking, about putting some variation of "Red Scarf" in the subject lines of their emails about the project. That helps tremendously, and I never even needed to ask! Fab.
The holidays are upon us, and I know everyone is very busy. If you are looking for some mindless knitting to do during your holiday celebrations, please think of knitting for the Red Scarf Project. Yesterday when I had lunch and knitting with Margot, she had purchased some Lorna's Laces worsted, in the same colorway (Tuscany) I used for my multi-directional scarf, to use for the Red Scarf Project. It was amazing to see how the dye lot differed from mine. I can't wait to see how her scarf turns out!
The scarves can be mailed throughout the month of January (but not before). I will inquire of Annalisa as to the last date they may be received at orphan.org and will announce it here in the blog and in my main blog. Don't worry -- I'll remind you!
Here's Julie's third, with her handsome boy modeling:
I kind of agree with Marco, Julie: He deserves a modeling fee. !!! How much do I love it that he wants extra scarves?!