Using Your Hobbies to Volunteer

I love to discover unique and special ways of giving back. Especially when it can help people within our own community. Finding a way to marry your hobbies with giving back can be genius! So when I saw Jessica Johnson posting online about her joy and passion for knitting, crocheting, and sewing for Bundles of Love, I had to find out more about this beautiful non-profit.

Bundles of Love

Bundles of Love bundle

Bundles of Love is a Minnesota based, volunteer driven non-profit that partners with community organizations to assist local families in need by providing handmade items for their newborns.

They provide a diaper bag stuffed with many items new families will need for their new little "bundle of love". These items include bedding, bibs, washcloths, clothing, and seasonally appropriate items, such as snowsuits and mittens for winter.

All diaper bags, clothing, and linens provided are hand-made with love from volunteers. All other items (such as baby wipes, diapers, lotions, and other baby products) are included if they are fortunate enough to receive donations from local companies. Target and Mystic Lake Casino are just some of the companies who have donated supplies.

There are multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities that host groups who sew, knit, crochet and more. Their goal is to fulfill every request they receive. Bundles of Love receives requests from various organizations. Last year they were able to provide over 3,000 diaper bags to needy families. 

Jessica's Passion

Jessica JohnsonI chatted with Jessica a couple of days ago. I barely had to ask her any questions because she was so passionate and excited to tell me about her experience with the organization.

Originally Jessica got involved when her co-worker, Sue, encouraged her fellow employees at Infinite Campus to use their volunteer hours for bundles of love. Sue brought in all of the fabrics and sewing machines into the office. This was Jessica's first exposure to Bundles of Love.

Jessica had no knowledge of sewing - she could only sew a straight line, but knew nothing else. Sue told her she could do it and offered to teach her. Skill level doesn't matter for those who want to help. So Jessica did it that day and didn't really think about it after that.

Later, Jessica discovered she had volunteer hours to use again. She wanted to set a good example for her daughter. She also wanted her daughter more engaged in giving back, but wasn't sure where she would go.

Jessica would continuously see opportunities for Bundles of Love pop up in her Facebook timeline. She usually passed them up, but one day she decided she needed to make this a priority. She decided once again to use her volunteer hours by helping Bundles of Love. After all, she loves crafts and knitting, so it seemed like a good place to use those hours. She was going to use her available volunteer hours and be done with it.

Jessica said, "Little did I know when I got there, that the need is so great. Marianne put me right to work. I've made receiving blankets, gowns, and bibs. These babies really tug at my heart. Everything in the bundle is made for a mother who has nothing. I grew up with nothing, and when you come from nothing you appreciate the smallest things. The baby goes home with this beautiful care package of everything that they could possibly need."

Once Jessica attended Bundles of Love, she was pulled in and is now putting in several hours each week.

Here are some examples of Jessica's works in progress:

Knitted sweater  Knitted sweater

To follow through with her goal of wanting to have her daughter more involved, Jessica brought her 11-year old daughter, her niece, and their friend to help. They helped pack 120 diaper bags! Her daughter loved it and now wants to learn how to sew. Her daughter already knows how to knit and has attended a Thursday knitting group for kids at Lila and Claudine's in Mahtomedi.

More Giving Back

Jessica's daughter  asked what else she can do, so Jessica told her she could knit some hats and scarfs for the homeless. They are making these hats and scarfs and plan on handing out bags to people on the corners who are asking for help. Her daughter expressed concern with this plan and asked, "How do we know they are homeless mom?" Jessica responded to her daughter perfectly, "We don't. We just have to hope we are doing the right thing."

Knitted Hats!

Jessica also has made hats for the Women's March and now has people asking her to make hats. She sells them to people she knows and has several requests for orders. She plans on opening an Etsy shop to sell her creations. If she has any inventory when Nevalia's opens, we will carry them in the shop!

Knitted Hat Knitted Hat

How to Help Bundles of Love

How to get started with Bundles of Love? They will take anybody who wants to help. You can show up, they will sit you down and get you sewing that day. Don't know how to sew or knit? They will show you how or you can do other things, such as sorting and cutting.

Bundles of love is currently holding a silent auction through September 23rd. Hurry and get involved.

Fall Bundles of Love silent auction

Bundles of Love in Burnsville is planning a craft show the first and second Saturday of November. Watch the Bundles of Love Facebook Events page to find out more when the event is posted.

Bundles of love Facebook Page

Don't have a passion for sewing or knitting? That's okay. Look at your hobbies and what you love to do. Find a way to give back using your own unique skills.

 


Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!


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