Sewing and quilting enthusiasts have been sewing for others in need since the invention of needle and thread. You name it, blankets, quilts, hats, mittens, dresses, layettes, are just a few of the many types of projects that have been made with love by those of us who love to sew!

Every year I try to make something for someone that  I’ll never meet, using beautiful fabrics and adding a label that conveys my well wishes to them. I urge you to do the same! During the Nancy’s Corner segment of Sewing With Nancy I often interview volunteers who sew and quilt for others. Listed below are 10 groups that give so much to others. There are so many volunteer organizations that, perhaps, in the near future I’ll list another 10. Regardless, please choose one and create something special. The gift is in the giving!

Project Linus 

Encourages those who sew to make blankets for children ages zero to 18 who have been ill or traumatized. There are 400 Project Linus chapters across the country. Each chapter has different needs for their area. Become a blanketeer today!

Project Linus Volunteer with a wall of blankets

The Sewing Machine Project

Margaret Jankowski started The Sewing Machine Project as a grass roots charitable effort to collect and distribute sewing machines to people who needed to start rebuilding their lives. She is tireless and has a big heart. At her booth at the Quilt Expo in Madison WI, a few attendees dropped off sewing machines and others learned of this valuable venture.

Camo Quilt Project 

Linda Wieck is the originator and the creator of the Camo Quilt Project. Her group makes sleeping bags in cotton (unlike the issued hot, polyester issued sleeping bags) for our service people overseas. Each branch of the service has its own camouflage fabric. Recently, the Camo Quilt Project was featured on NBC Nightly News. To date, they’ve made and sent over 13,400 quilts to our service people overseas!

A finished Camo Quilt

Linda Wiecks joins Nancy Zieman at the Sewing With Nancy studio

Little Dresses For Africa

Rachel O’Neill was deeply touched by the little girls in Africa who were extremely oppressed. They have also started making “Britches for Boys.” Rachel just returned from Africa—see her comments on her web site and blog.

Nancy Zieman and Rachel O'Neil

Quilter’s Without Borders 

Maggie Ball, a quilter from the Seattle area was inspired by an email from a Mongolian woman asking for assistance in teaching Mongolian women to quilt. She accepted the challenge to teach them, and “Quilters Without Borders” emerged. In Mongolia there is a very high unemployment rate, and abuse of women and alcoholism are common.

Maggie Ball and Nancy Zieman

Lutheran World Relief  

Women of all faiths have been making quilts for decades. It’s a validation of my favorite saying, The gift is in the giving. At our church several weeks ago, the quilts made for Lutheran World Relief were draped on the pews—there were about 50. Impressive!

Benjamin Smiles Pillowcases

I did a feature on this project years ago on Sewing With Nancy. We did all our coorespondences via mail. Recently, I met Benjamin’s mother—I was so taken back that I neglected to take a picture. I have so much admiration for her. Plus,what a wonderful volunteer outlet that she created in honor of her son.

Benjamin Smiles


Quilts for Kids

Bob Urquhart, IL Chapter Director of Quilts for Kids joined me on Sewing With Nancy to share how this volunteer group is providing quilts to Children’s Memorial Hospital’s Oncology Unit. The unit feature is that they offer a Quilt Kit! We made one in our office and sent it to Bob, what a great feeling!

Nancy with Bob Urquhart

Sew Much Comfort 

Sew Much Comfort provides adaptive clothing at no cost to support the unique needs of our injured service members from all branches of the military and national guard.


Newborns in Need 

Newborns in Need, founded by busy mom Carol Green, makes and donates baby gowns, blankets, and other essential baby items to hospitals, homeless shelters, and other organizations that provide for premature and newborn infants. The web site gives all the details!

New Borns in Need

What’s your favorite volunteer group?

Please post a little about the group and their web site so that others can add to their volunteer  references.




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