Firefly Berries is about more than growing great fruit. It is about creating and supporting our community. With this passion in mind, in April 2013 we began Firefly Hats for Hope Initiative: Minnesota, a spin-off of Emily’s Hats for Hope Initiative stationed in New Jersey.
Emily’s Hats for Hope Initiative began in December 2011 when Emily (then 17 years old) began knitting hats for the homeless and working poor in her area. As of December 2017, she has made, collected and donated nearly 30,000 winter hats, scarves, mittens and other winter outerwear to soup kitchens, food pantries, and impoverished communities throughout the United States and Guatamala.
In January 2018 Emily left the States to begin a new adventure living and studying abroad in Europe. Because of this, the national organization is no longer in existence, however, here at Firefly Berries we continue to keep the spirit of Emily’s mission alive in our Spinoff Chapter: Firefly Hats for Hope Initiative: Minnesota.
Through Emily’s inspiration we continue to bless the community with hats, scarves, socks, and other winter outerwear. As of May 2018 we have collected and donated over 1000 items to those in need. Won’t you consider joining us in this outreach opportunity? We are always collecting any and all winter items (whether homemade or store bought). Our biggest need in Olmsted County tends to be mittens for all ages.
At the moment we are accepting winter items of any kind, but are focusing on the following ongoing projects. Please check out the links on each of these organizations to learn more about what they do and how you can help!
Bundles of Love: This is a wonderful nonprofit organization that assists Minnesota families in need by providing handmade baby clothing, bedding and basic care items for their newborns. We continue to accept & donate any newborn or 0-3 month size hats, socks or booties.
Click for Babies Campaign: April begins the new yearly campaign to collect newborn size purple baby hats. This year we are working with the Rochester chapter of Bundles of Love to donate these hats to families right here in Olmsted County! The hats will be a part of the Click For Babies Campaign efforts in educating new parents about Shaken Baby Syndrome and a period that is called “the period of purple crying.”
Pine Ridge Reservation: Poverty on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is extensive. The Lakota people need everything and anything that can help them stay warm (hats, mittens, scarves, blankets, sweaters, socks, etc). Each fall we send a large box of items to the reservation to help with these needs. A few special things to note if you are making items for this project:
- No solid red or blue as that signifies gang membership
- No owls or owl motifs as the owl signifies death
- If you use different fibers in the same project, make sure they are all able to be laundered the same.
- Feel free to use 100% wool, as the people receiving them are used to caring for handwash items. Just be sure to note the content and care instructions when you donate the items.
Need One… Take One – Throughout the year the Rochester public library welcomes many people… from all walks of life. Unfortunately, a good number of these folks do not have adequate warm winter outerwear. Because of this, the staff in the children’s department has made it their mission to collect and distribute winter hats, mittens, cowls, and scarves to share with those in need. All sizes from infant to adult are needed, and any type of yarn can be used – however, if there are special care instructions, please be sure to attach those to your finished items.
Hats and More for War-torn Syria: This organization works to help people of all ages (infant to adult) who have been displaced by the war in Syria and the region. Their main objective is to provide sweaters, socks, blankets, quilts, vests, mittens and of course, hats for those in need. Wool is best for the items we send to this organization, as it can hold body heat, even when wet, and isn’t so flammable for those cooking over open flames. Volunteers from Hats and More for War-torn Syria travel to the country to personally deliver the items to those in need.
*For more information on Knit in Nature Nights, including scheduled dates and times for the upcoming months, click on the Knit in Nature link, under the “Outreach” link at the top of the page.
*To donate items, please drop off or mail them to Firefly Berries, Attn: Firefly Hats for Hope, 5542 23rd St NE, Rochester, MN 55906.
If you know of an organization in need of winter clothing, please feel free to contact us at the farm or online. We’d love to add them to our project list!
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