Scarf, Hat, Cool-Tie FAQs
posted on Aug 05 2010 53 Comments
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 project for the troops.
When does Operation Gratitude need scarves and hats to send to the troops?
We accept scarves and hats from September through early-December each year. Our final packing day for the Holiday (winter) Drive is in mid-December. No items of warmth are sent during our spring/summer Patriotic Drive, as we concentrate on “beating-the-heat” cool-ties during that drive (see pattern below; please send your cool-ties March-May). Due to lack of storage space at the armory during the summer months, we ask that you please hold onto your knit scarves and hats until the fall and send them to us September through December only! Please keep knitting/crocheting all year though!
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. 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! If you would like, please feel free to use one of the patterns posted below.
What size should the scarves and hats be?
It is important that you keep your scarves within our size restrictions (5-6” across and 45-48” 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, but, please NO red-white-blue combinations.
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 volunteer knitters 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: OpGrat@gmail.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 by the end of January. 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 your name and address on each box or bag 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), Hand knit/crocheted Scarves and Bandana Cool-ties.
We also welcome collections of used cell phones for recycling. For more information, please click: Recycling for Troops
Please print out this Donor Form, complete it and include a completed form in EVERY carton you send to Operation Gratitude. This form is required in order to receive an acknowledgment of receipt from us.
Please send ALL items (handmade and other) to:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Rich Hernandez: (262) OPGRAT-1 (262-674-7281)
Mark on any boxes that include handmade items: SCARVES FOR TROOPS
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:
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436
or donate online here: DONATE HERE (monetary donations are tax-deductible)!
For information about letter writing and additional ways to help, please request flyers: OpGrat@gmail.com
Stock up on sale yarns!
See www.mycraftcoupons.com for money-saving coupons.
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! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact OpGratScarves@gmail.com