The following is a personal note from Eco-Friendly Craft's founder, Jill Bridges:
I appreciate you lending me your attention for a moment of your busy day.
Those outside of our inner circle may not know that our family started Eco-Friendly Crafts in the months following the passing of our oldest child, who was a LGBTQ teen. The idea had been brewing for awhile and starting this business is likely the main reason that I survived those early months. I sincerely hope no one reading this ever has to know how hard it is to lose a child, and if you do understand, I am so very sorry.
I've been wanting to do something for the LGBTQ community in my child's honor, but I hadn't found the right fit. I was listening to the amazing Cecilia Nelson-Hurt speaking on diversity and inclusion in the fiber industry on the Craft Industry Alliance podcast recently and she discussed her role with Knit the Rainbow.
Knit the Rainbow is a non-profit organization that provides winter garments to homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City. They estimate that there are 8,000 LGBTQ youth (ages 12-24) and only beds for 350 of them in youth shelters. That's 7,650 kids with no where to go and no way to stay warm in the brutal NYC winters.
Many of these kids are homeless because their families were not supportive. I'd give anything to have my child back and the idea of these kids without a soft place to land breaks my heart.
Keeping them warm doesn't seem like nearly enough, but it is something I feel like I can count on my amazing community of LGBTQ friends and family, fiber friends, local knitters and crocheters, and customers from all over to help me with. I'm setting a big first year goal of 100 winter garments before the end of 2021.
Knit the Rainbow is short on gloves, mittens, and socks. They will also accept any donations of other handmade winter garments, including scarves, hats, ear warmers, and sweaters. All colors and styles are welcome, and we encourage knitters and crocheters of all skill levels to join us. If you are a beginner and need some help getting started, or even need to learn from scratch to help, please reach out to us via email or in our store.
If knitting and crocheting isn't your thing, we'd welcome you to purchase yarn from our shop to be donated to the knitters and crocheters that are willing to lend their talents. The Deluxe Wool, Re-Spun, Reverb, ReBound, and Bergere de France Recycle 4 and 8 all are very diverse yarns we can make a variety of items from. We'll be sure every skein is stitched with love for these young folks, and you'll be supporting a local yarn store at the same time.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope you'll join us in the journey to meeting our goal.