Eco-Friendly Crafts, a local environmentally friendly craft supplies company, has achieved a goal it set for 2021 to create at least 100 handmade knit or crocheted winter garments for Knit the Rainbow.
The garments will help homeless LGBTQ+ youths stay warm during the winter months. Jill Bridges, owner of Eco-Friendly Crafts, began the company after tragically losing her oldest child, an LGBTQ+ teen. The company became a passion project and a reason for Bridges to keep going, but she wanted to do more.
She explains: “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 Cecilia Nelson-Hurt speaking on diversity and inclusion in the fiber industry on a podcast recently, where she mentioned Knit the Rainbow.”
Helping Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth
Knit the Rainbow seeks to help homeless LGBTQ+ youths in New York City, a microcosm of the nationwide problem. The city estimates there are roughly 8,000 homeless LGBTQ+ youths between the ages of 12 and 24, but only 350 beds in youth shelters. Many of these kids are homeless due to a lack of support from their families.
Exceeding a Goal
For Bridges, it seemed a natural fit. “I’d give anything to have my child back,” she says, “and the idea of these kids without a soft place to land breaks my heart.”
Bridges turned to her extended community of LGBTQ+ friends and family, local crocheters and knitters, fiber friends, and even customers from all over the country to help.
The results were astounding. After a blog post in October, she managed to not only reach her goal of 100 knit and crochet pieces of clothing but exceeded it with a final total of 114 in just a few months. The articles of clothing donated included scarves, hats, and gloves. Those who couldn’t knit or crochet purchased yarn and donated it back to the volunteers who met weekly to work on items.
Looking to the Future
Bridges is never one who is content to sit still. She has announced a new goal for the coming year, one that is even more ambitious. “[We] have set a goal of 300 pieces for 2022,” she says. “We accept donations of yarn and finished items at the store.”
About Knit the Rainbow
Knit the Rainbow is a nonprofit organization founded in April 2020 that’s dedicated to providing winter clothing to homeless LGBTQ+ youths in New York City. Find out more about Knit the Rainbow
- Eco-Friendly Crafts, LLC
- United States