In today’s tight economy, many people would love to do more to help their local shelters but are restricted financially. One pet lover, however, decided to take the issue of donating on a limited budget into her own lands—literally.
Erika Lindquist, a crafter and blogger at SewDoggyStyle.com, created National Craft for Your Shelters Day, this year scheduled for July 21. On that day, Lindquist urges pet lovers to create items, often without spending a dime, for homeless dogs and cats.
“This is a day set aside to give back to local shelters by making items such as toys and beds that bring comfort to animals,” explains Lindquist, whose dog Sebastian serves as a model for many of her crafts. “There’s been such a strong crafts and DIY movement in the last few years that doing something like this seemed perfect. I’m not able to write a check to my local shelters, but I can most certainly use my crafting skills to make items that are just as meaningful for the animals.”
Crafts can be as simple or as complex as time and skills allow. “Making dog and cat toys is easy enough that children can get involved, too,” says the lifelong crafter. Projects can be as easy as beds made from pillowcases, cat toys, or braided tug toys created from old t-shirts. Lindquist points out that even the simplest crafts are a boon to shelters whose budgets are already stretched by food and facilities.
For more advanced crafters, “making a vest or bandana for a dog to wear with an ‘adopt me’ message displayed on it will help others know he is looking for a home.”
Lindquist, who also teaches sewing classes, hopes crafters will join together to benefit shelters. “I would be thrilled to hear that people organized craft parties on July 21 just for their local shelters. And I would also hope this inspires others to meet and craft throughout the year, as animals are in need all year long.” Group events can be a way for both skilled and non-skilled crafters to help shelters. Setting up stations can get everyone into the act, with non-sewers cutting fabric or pinning together pieces while seamstresses take on the job of sewing.
Lindquist suggests that crafters first check with their local shelters to learn about specific needs. “Then get a group of friends together and craft. Make it fun!”