Our Scarves for Troops Program is more popular than ever thanks to the dedicated and generous support from talented people like YOU all across the country! These made-with-love gifts are treasured by all who receive them! If you have knitting or crocheting skills, we invite you to join us — starting now — so we can include one of these precious gifts in each of the winter-time care packages we send! Want to get started? Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions…and Answers!
- Is there a pattern for the scarves and hats? There is no specific pattern to follow so feel free to use your own — or you can find some here: PATTERNS. We do recommend that you keep them simple and perhaps use slightly larger needles so more can be made! Please keep your scarves within our size restrictions (5-6″ across and about 48″ long) so they fit into our care packages. No fringe. You may notice that the size guidelines are a bit smaller than in the past. Do NOT be concerned if yours are a little wider or longer. It is still absolutely fine. Our scarves that are a bit too large for our regular boxes are enjoyed and appreciated by our Wounded Warriors or our Veterans.
- What yarns and colors should we use? Any soft yarn is fine and any color will be accepted, but if possible please keep the colors on the subtle side–blues, browns, olives, grays, maroon, and black are all good choices, as well as appropriate for male and female troops! Stripes using these colors or multi-colored yarn is acceptable. It is best to steer away from red, white and blue as a color combination. Military personnel cannot wear a depiction of the flag. Scarves can be red and white or blue and red or blue and white, but it’s best not to use the three colors together.
Please note: The scarves and hats we send are gifts from home. This message is from Carolyn Blashek, Founder of Operation Gratitude:
“The importance of the scarves in our packages is to send the very warm and loving message that people at home care enough to take the time and effort to make something as beautiful as a scarf. Our scarves, hats, etc. are not ‘regulation,’ so they can only be worn by the troops during their moments of rest and when they go home. Nevertheless, the message they send is enduring. 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.”
- Should I attach a letter or note? We make sure that all hand-made items include a short note and an e-mail address. If you could do so for each of your hats and scarves (include the fiber content information, too) it would be most helpful! Notes make the gift even more special when the item is personalized. The note can be as simple as “Handmade with love” OR a letter telling about yourself, including your email address or your home address. (If you are uncomfortable using your personal address, feel free to use ours — firstname.lastname@example.org — but please also include your full name so we can be sure to forward replies on to you!)
- 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, then send you a thank you letter within 12 weeks. If you want confirmation of delivery of your shipment(s), please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.
- Where should I send my donations? Please send them to the address below, and please remember to include your name and full address, along with a completed Donation Form in each box you send:
Operation Gratitude/CA National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
ATTN: Angel Cuevas
Find helpful shipping tips, cost-saving ideas and important information at our blog: Donation & Shipping Info.If you want confirmation of delivery on your shipments of item donations prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter (allow up to 12 weeks), please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.
- Can I drop off my donations in person? Yes, we will accept donations at the armory during our Volunteer Hours of Operation: http://www.operationgratitude.com/volunteer/volunteer-info-schedule/
- When do you accept donations of hand-made items? We can accept them year-round. Here is a flyer you can print and share with others: Made With Love
More questions? Please send us an email: Opgratscarves@gmail.com – we’ll reply asap! Here are a few more tips to keep in mind…
1. The best way to attach your personal notes to your scarves is with a piece of yarn through a hole in the note and then tied to the scarf (shown, left). Include your contact information — an email or “snail mail” address — so the recipient can send you a “thank you” if they have time!
2. Many of you are thoughtful to place each scarf in an individual plastic zip-lock bag. That is not necessary. Instead, when mailing to the Armory, please place scarves all together in one large plastic zip-lock or draw-string bag so the scarves remain clean and dry during transit to us and while waiting to be shipped to the troops.
3. For more information about the Hand-Made Items program, patterns for Scarves, Hats, Paracord “Survival” Bracelets and Bandana Cool-Ties to knit, crochet and sew, check out: Handmade With Love — More Ways to Show You Care and Scarf, Hat, & Cool-Tie Project Details.
4. Be sure to visit our Pinterest board for more inspiration and ideas. Our hope is that you all will be inspired to keep your hands and needles busy making these gifts all year round! Our goal is to send 50,000 every year!! We definitely need your help.
Thank you again for all your generous support! “Busy Hands, Happy Heart!”
MORE QUESTIONS? Send them to Kelly: Opgratscarves@gmail.com