Red Scarf Project Blog

What is the Red Scarf Project?

  • The Red Scarf Project, a project of the Orphan Foundation of America, or, 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

My Main Blog

When and Where Should I Mail My Scarves

  • Please mail packages in January 2007 (NOT before, due to space considerations). Mail to: Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project 21351 Gentry Drive, Unit 130 Sterling, VA 20166
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January 05, 2007


Melissa (crazycatladymel)

When I was away at college, my folks sent care packages and my dad (who never wrote letters) sent letters. I guess the idea of achieving so much but not getting any mail was my inspiration.

Kate on vancouver island

My husband and I are both adopted, he was three when he was adopted and I was just a baby, but it still strikes home when you hear of other orphans, especially those who never were adopted.
The other reason this project tugs at my heart ... we left home together at 18, and made our way through university on our own, far away from family and friends (never even going home at holidays for four years). So I know firsthand the delight a thoughtful care package/gift/letter can bring.


I'm adopted and when I think of these kids who sometimes have very few people who care I think, but for the grace of god go I. I could easily have ended up in the foster care system and I feel so for these wonderful kids who don't allow themselves to wallow in "poor me" but remain stong and move forward to better themselves despite adversity. Knitting them a few warm and pretty scarves to say "I care" seems the very least I can do!


The reason I have made a red scarf for this project is that although I am British, my Mom is American I know from my family how hard it is to go to college with family. To do so on tour own is amazing. I just wanted to help out. I haven't posted a photo of the scarf yet. I just need to mail the scarf now.

Cheesy Knit Wit

Everyone likes to feel needed and cared for, and that's why I knitted the scarves. Every time the scarf wraps around their neck, it is a hug from me.


It's not easy to keep secrets in a small town. So I grew up with the uneasy sense that although I was safe in my own home, other children were not so lucky. The things that happen to get you into foster care? Not pretty, and not easy to walk away from.

I think the OFA kids who have gotten themselves into college are miracles of courage and strength. I am knitting a red scarf so someone can keep believing it is okay to ask for help, to trust, to expect good things from life.


I am an only child, I'm single, and I don't have any children. A year ago, my dad had to have a kidney removed because he had cancer. All of a sudden, it fell on me like a ton of bricks that when my parents are gone, I won't have any family. I feel so lucky that I didn't have to face this until I was 43 years old, and I feel that I can empathize with these students who have been on their own since childhood.


The project first caught my attention, I confess, because I like to knit scarves and everyone I know and love to knit for has said "no mas." But what really grabbed me was that no one who wasn't related to him/her ever looked at a college sophmore and said, "Oh, how cute. I just want to knit it an itty bity something." So two scarves are on their way. No pictures 'cause I am photo challenged. Thanks, Norma for letting us know about this and rallying the troops.

Tania A

My friend Brandon made me. Well, his reaction to the project made me. Every time he talks about it he gets a little teary, and it's so sweet. And no, he wasn't an orphan himself. But he did get care packages from home when he was in college, and he remembers seeing classmates that didn't get anything, and it chokes him up to think about it.

Dorothy B

My brother and two of my sisters are adopted. Since there was three of them (they are all from the same parents) and my oldest sister was 4 when she entered the system, they were difficult to adopt out. They bounced around for a while before my parents heard of them and wanted to adopt them. I often think about all those other kids who enter the system at ages that make it difficult to find loving adoptive families. Pretty sad that a 4 year old is considered getting old. Too many people want babies and refuse to consider older children.
These young adults should be commended and recognized for their achievements. They should have people who say that they matter and that they are proud of them. If a red scarf can do that, I'll knit it.


I was, let's say, a little neglected in my formative years, so I refuse to not do something for these kids that would have them feel the same. They had enough challenges already K?


I've led a pretty sheltered life and always had family around me. I even lived at home throughout college, so I can't imagine doing that all on your own. I hope that my scarves let them know someone is thinking of them who they don't even know and that it gives them inspiration for the future.


Norma made me.

Okay, seriously, it was because nobody sent me care packages when I was in college. Even though I had family, they just didn't do it. And I remember how lonely and sad I felt when everyone around me was getting cookies and little gift cards and a hat or a scarf or snacks around midterms or candy at Valentine's Day and I got nothing. So, when my brother went to college, I sent him a care package every few months so he wouldn't feel that way. Now, he's out of college and I need someone to send things to. I think it's great that OFA does this for their kids--it really makes a difference to know that someone out there cares about you enough to send you something.

My Merino Mantra

There are a few reasons why this project is dear to my heart, and at the top of my list. Firstly, my husband and I adopted 2 boys. Our eldest was 4 years old when we brought him home, getting to the age where he would become more difficult to adopt. Had we not made him our son, he could have remained an orphan. Secondly, we have friends who are mentors to 4 preteen boys, who may not ever have known what life is like outside of their inner city home, were it not for someone who cared. Thirdly, these scarves are for an overlooked part of our population, teenagers, who live in the United States. We may live in the wealthiest country on the planet, but the USA has citizens living in poverty, and others without health insurance. This is inexcusable, and we need to take care of our own. And lastly, it is only by the grace of God that I was not an orphan myself. My heart relates to teens who make poor choices, or find themselves without parents. A simple scarf may not be much, but it is a gift to both whoever receives it, and also to myself for having done one small thing for someone.

Donna in Virginia

I've taught for over 30 years, have two grown children and I know how much a special package means to young people to get a package while working away during the dark days of winter, especially those who rarely get something.


I am knitting a scarf (or two) for two reasons. First of all I was one of the VERY lucky ones. I was adopted as a baby and loved very much. NEVER ever referred to as the "adopted" daughter. My husband was not so lucky. He grew up in a very nice children's home after an adoptive parent died before the adoption became final as just a little "second grade fellow" However he went on to put himself through a very prestigous private college. (Did I spell Prestigious correctly in either sentence? I am aware of the Red Marker Project!) He NEVER really had a place to go to in the summer or other breaks and I can only think of how much a care package would have meant to him.That is why I am knitting AND encouraging the knitters around me to do so as well.


Remembering college and not wanting to imagine it alone--w/o parents. A scarf seemed the least I could do. Plus, I wanted to try out the yarn I used.


I just have this do-gooder gene inside of me that makes me feel good to do charity knitting. I plan to send my three scarves out this week. That's three more than I sent last year, and now I can be on the look out for red yarn to use to send more scarves next year.

Thanks for the nudge...


gale (she shoots sheep shots)

I wrote a What Inspired Me for the Red Scarf Project entry on my blog for Thanksgiving, you can find it at


Not to rag on my parents (they're just not the care package types), but I was one of those kids who never got anything in the mail while I was off at school. And I was the only person from out-of-state (and quite far out-of-state at that) in my suite, so I remember how hard it was never getting little gifts in the mail, and never being able to just go home for the weekend, while all of my friends had both. I have tons of respect for what these kids are accomplishing on their own and think they deserve something nice, so if I can do that for them by knitting a scarf, then that's what I want to do.


I hate to be cold. I hate, hate, hate it! I hate for anyone else to feel cold. I would like to wrap the whole freezing world in a big fluffy blanket.

Knitting is one of my gifts. When someone has a crisis, some of my friends need to cook for them. Another friend feels impelled to organize work parties and fund-raising events. I want to knit them something. Chemo caps, or a soft shawl to wrap up in while you're crying, or cozy socks or whatever seems useful.

I have knitted for decades. Everyone I know has reached their limits for knitted gifts.
Knitting scarves for struggling orphans was just a gimme for my need to knit in love. thanks for letting me share.


I decided to Knit a Red Scarf when I heard about it several months ago because 1) I wanted to Charity Knitting and this is a straight forward project.
2) My daughter is adopted, but I know there are always those kids "left behind". I wish they all could be adopted and this is away of sending support to them.
3)My college years were the best in my life and I hope those years can be good for these kids too.


I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and I know just how encouraging and supportive it is to have a package arrive--it makes you feel like people are really pulling for you and you aren't alone. When I heard about the Red Scarf project I was really excited--not only is it a way of giving back, I am so impressed that these kids have managed to make it to college and stuck with their education despite everything that has happened to them.


These kids are so brave, pushing back against ridiculous odds, and I admire them. A simple gift is where the admiration leads me. One scarf down, one to go.


I read about this on various blogs. It appealed to me because it just seems nice that a college kid will get a nice, hand knit scarf from a complete stranger, just because. I am mailing mine out tomorrow, pictures to follow once I upload them off the camera. (It's a red Irish Hiking Scarf from Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds.)

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