16-Day RED Scarf Challenge

On Fridays at Operation Gratitude and across the nation, grateful Americans wear RED to Remember Everyone Deployed! We need you, our devoted knitters and crocheters, to help us Remember Everyone Deployed during Military Appreciation Month in May.

To celebrate Operation Gratitude’s 16th Birthday and to honor the men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much for us, we challenge you to make as many RED scarves as you can over a 16-day period from May 3rd to May 18th. We will include them in more than 10,000 Care Packages sent to deployed Service Members.

Since 2003 Operation Gratitude has delivered 2.3 Million Care Packages.  Last year, we received 70,000 hand knit and crocheted scarves and hats, which we sent to service members around the world.

We need to double that this year as part of our campaign to Make Every Minute Count and deliver 525,600 Care Packages!

The Top Crafter, Top 3 Crafters and Top 10 Crafters will be awarded these prizes.

You’ll find everything you need to start the challenge below including: Scarf patterns, official rules, FAQs, and shipping instructions.



Is there a pattern for the scarves?

There is no specific pattern to follow so feel free to use your own (or see the patterns we provide at the link below). We 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 (no larger than 4”-6” wide, 48”-50” long) so they fit into our Care Packages. If your scarves are a little wider or longer, no worries! They will be given to, and appreciated by, Wounded Heroes or Veterans.

What yarns and colors should I use?

RED is the color of this challenge and any shade of RED is acceptable. Any soft yarn in any fiber is acceptable but please use a worsted weight yarn. Please do not use bulky yarn.

Should I attach a letter or note?

Yes! 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. The note can be as simple as “Handmade with Love” or a letter telling about yourself. Include your contact information—an email or “snail mail” address—so the recipient can send you a “thank you” if they have time. If you are uncomfortable using your personal address, feel free to use ours (info@operationgratitude.com) but please also include your full name so we can be sure to forward replies on to you. 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.

Will I get a letter of acknowledgment from Operation Gratitude?

Yes, we will send you a thank you letter within 8 weeks of receiving your donation. If you want earlier confirmation of delivery of your shipment(s), please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.

Can I buy scarves for the challenge?

No, while we do accept purchased scarves year round, only handmade scarves will be accepted as part of the red scarf challenge.

How should I ship my donations?

Place scarves all together in one large plastic zip-lock or drawstring bag so they stay clean and dry, and then place in a carton. All shipments must be postmarked no later than May 20th, 2019 to be considered for the challenge. Please ship to the address provided below.

We like to include handmade scarves in our packages because they convey the important message that people at home care enough to lovingly create something warm and personal.”

Operation Gratitude Founder


Email us at HWL@operationgratitude.com.


  1. Fill out our Donor Form. Once completed you will receive an email with shipping instructions.
  2. Ship all items to:
    Operation Gratitude
    ATTN: 16-Day Red Scarf Challenge
    21100 Lassen Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278

Or drop them off in person:
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

We accept handmade items year-round.