I am currently working on two community projects this year that I'd like to share. You don't have to have a lot of money to make a big difference in someone's life. Just an opportunity and a little creativity.

The Scarves for the Homeless Project

A friend on Twitter has befriended a group of homeless folks here in town. As we head into cold season they need warm things to wear when temperatures dip. I know many people that knit or crochet and we are always complaining at the amount of leftover project yarn we have laying around unused, so I organized a group of several of us and we have started making scarves with it to donate to my friend who will get them to his friends.

If you don't know a group of these people in your area, I am sure that your local homeless shelters would be more than happy to take and distribute donations. Don't knit or crochet? Consider hitting the fabric store and buy a 60 inch length of fleece. Cut it into widths of about 5.5 inches wide and voila! No-sew scarves.

This will be a constant need through the winter I am sure as these people are very transient and there are always new faces showing up at the shelters.

**UPDATE (11/18/10): Since initial post the number in need has risen to over a thousand. I am in desperate need of help. I need volunteer knitters/crocheters and donations of fleece and yarn.

**UPDATE (11/25/10) Please see list added below this post. These are items that the camps are in need of. A wish list. Please consider a donation of any of these items to get these folks through the winter. I do have a safe drop location and will be dropping off donated items once a week so they can be distributed.

My Family's Christmas Plan for the Central Food Bank

I first introduced this idea to my family last year and it was such a huge success that it's the plan again for this year. It used to be a pain to buy for all the adult members of my family for Christmas gifts. A pain because we are all thankfully able to buy what we want or need and so it was usually just a round of the exchange of cash or gift cards when we did our holiday gathering.

Although we will be buying gifts for the kids to open, we take all of the Christmas budgets for the adults, pool it together and then make a large donation to the Central Virginia Food Bank. In a couple of weeks my mom, my sister and I will meet up somewhere for lunch, write our checks and put them in a sealed envelope together. None of us know what amount was donated by the other and we get a pleasant time together and get the satisfaction of knowing that we are giving other folks something to eat in a time when so many are going hungry.

For our holiday gathering, we draw one name each and limit the gift purchase to $5 so everyone still has something to open. Most creative gift with the $5 wins a prize.

Consider giving back to your community this winter season. It really feels good to give from the heart.

Thanks for reading!

Wish List of Donation Items:

Hats, gloves, coats, long johns, heavy socks, underwear, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, scaves and booots and shoes.

Backpacks, heavy trash bags for wet weather, blankets, sleeping bags, flashlights, batteries, radios, lanterns, canned goods, instant coffee and tea bags, water pots, frying pans, dark tarps, tupperware/ziploc bags and rope/string.

Towels and wash cloths, soap, lotion, sanitary napkins, toilet paper, baby wipes, feminine products, condoms and cold medicine.