THANK YOU for your interest in our “Handmade with Love” programs to support troops, veterans, new recruits, wounded heroes and emergency first responders!
Nothing expresses respect and “thank you” quite like an item made with love. Our recipients are always deeply touched by your efforts. We send ~100,000 care packages each year and like to include a handmade item in every package!
Here are answers to the questions we are most often asked about our knitting/crocheting Scarves for Troops Program:
When does Operation Gratitude need scarves and hats to send to the troops?
We accept scarves and hats year-round. Our final packing day for the winter drive is in mid-December. No items of warmth are sent during our spring/summer drive, as we concentrate on “beating-the-heat” cool-ties during that drive (see pattern below; please send your cool-ties March-May).
Is there a pattern for the scarves and hats?
There is no specific pattern that we ask you to follow so feel free to use your own, keeping within our size restrictions, since we have limited space in our care packages (see below). We do recommend that you keep them simple and perhaps use slightly larger needles (sizes 11-13 are good) so more scarves can be made! Here are suggested patterns to try: Handmade with Love Patterns
What size should the scarves and hats be?
It is important that you keep your scarves within our size restrictions (5” across and 36” long) so they fit into our care packages. No fringe please (except perhaps a small amount for fleece scarves). There are no size restrictions for the hats, but we recommend that you use a human head as a model!
What colors should we use?
While we accept any color, it is best to keep the colors on the subtle side–blues, browns, olives, grays, maroon, and black would all be excellent choices for both males and females. The troops always appreciate military colors.
What fibers are acceptable?
We will accept scarves and hats made from wool, acrylics, or non-flammable fleece materials. Try to avoid scratchy fibers, since the items will be worn next to their skin. The softer the better! Due to potential allergies and/or Military uniform restrictions, please list the fiber content on your “Made With Love” note that you attach to the scarf (see next paragraph). To be clear: We get a lot of inquiries regarding acceptable fiber for the scarves. Please know that the scarves and hats we send are gifts. We take ALL types of scarves, made from whatever fibers our volunteers care to use. The service members often wear the scarves and hats we send while they are off-duty.
Should I attach a letter or note?
Definitely! We want all hand-made items to include a short note and an e-mail or mailing address so that the troops can respond, if they have time. A brief note is very important and will make your gift even more special for the recipient. It could be as simple as “Hand-made with love” OR a note or letter telling him/her about yourself—whatever you’d like! If you are uncomfortable including your own e-mail address please feel free to use ours: Info@OperationGratitude.com
Will I get a letter of acknowledgment from Operation Gratitude?
Yes, we will keep track of all the scarves and hats you send or deliver to the armory, and send an acknowledgment of receipt asap. For tax deduction purposes, please attach our letter to your receipts for yarn purchases (consult your tax advisor for more details). Please remember to include a completed Donation Form in each box of items you send us!
How else can I support Operation Gratitude?
At this time, our most urgent need is for: Financial Donations to pay the postage and production costs on our care packages ($15/package); personal Letters of Appreciation, small plush animals (like Beanie Babies and Webkinz), handmade Paracord “Survival” Bracelets and Bandana Cool-ties.
We also welcome collections of used cell phones for recycling. For more information, please click: Recycling for Troops
Please send ALL items (handmade and other) to:
21100 Lassen Street
Chatsworth, CA 91311
ATTN: Donations/Angel Cuevas
IMPORTANT: Please include a Donation Form in every box you send: DONATION FORM.
Tax-Deductible Financial donations!
Any amount you are able to send will be greatly appreciated. Every care package costs $15 to assemble and ship. Please send checks only (packages cannot be accepted at this address and will be RETURNED) to:
P.O. Box 260257
Encino, California 91426-0257
Or make a tax deductible donation online here: DONATE HERE
For information about additional ways to help, please start here: Help Make More Smiles No Matter Where You Live
Visit our hand-made with love Pinterest board: Scarves, Hats, Cool-Ties & Bracelets
Finally: Please spread the good word — to senior centers, Girl Scout troops, yarn shops, craft websites, bloggers — anyone who would like to help with our “hand-made” projects and show their appreciation to our troops! Share our informational flyer, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Info@OperationGratitude.com
For hats and scarves, check out these suggested patterns: Handmade with Love Patterns
Want to make COOL TIES? Here’s how:
You will find your own rhythm and best methods, but this system works for some people:
Cut strips of fabric about 6 1/2 inches wide, with the length measurement being the width from selvage to selvage. Sew a small width end, then turn 90 degrees and sew along the whole length side (1/4 inch margin), leaving the last short width end open. Then, turn it inside out and iron the creases. Then, sew (about 13 inches) up from the closed end, across the thin width. Add in the crystals, IMPORTANT to make sure they all slide all the way down to the seam. Sew across the thin width again to make a pocket for the crystals. Last, close the final open thin width end, by tucking in the edges and sewing across.
For more information and to order the polymer beads:
Can’t knit or crochet? Here are instructions for Fleece Scarves!
What you’ll need:
• ½ yard fleece fabric
• Sewing machine
• Thread to match fabric color
How to make it:
1. Cut two pieces of fleece equal in length and width. Length will determine how long your scarf will be. (Please remember to keep your scarves no longer than 36″.)
2. Lay the two equal pieces with the right sides (the side that has the pattern on it) facing in each other.
3. Leaving approximately a ¼” seam, sew the full length of the scarf. Repeat on the other side. You will end up with a long tube of fabric with open ends.
4. Using a pair of scissors, cut the fringe by cutting ½” wide slits about 4” up from each end.
5. Turn scarf inside out so that the sewn seams are now on the inside, finished edges are on the outside.
6. Sew a running stitch along the top of the fringe to “close” the ends of the scarf.
7. Trim any loose threads and you are done!
• Half a yard of fleece will make one scarf approximately four and a half feet long. If you want a longer scarf, simply get more fabric. Ask for assistance at your favorite fabric supply store.
• Use good scissors. Cheap or old scissors that have dull blades will make this project much more difficult than it needs to be and can cause problems with cutting straight lines.
• This is a fun and inexpensive project. Ask store staff where to find the fleece that is on sale. Our scarves cost $3 to $4 each to make.
QUESTIONS? Please email us: Info@OperationGratitude.com