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Mittens for Detroit

We are thrilled to be partnering with Mittens for Detroit, Inc., - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that collects, purchases, and distributes new mittens and gloves to those in need in Detroit, Michigan, and other nearby underserved cities - as a collection location.

Read on to learn more about Mittens for Detroit and how you can get involved!

Be a MittenMaker

Donating handmade mittens are a wonderful way to support the Mittens for Detroit mission! Whether you knit, crochet or even sew, there are oodles of beautiful patterns at your disposal.

The good folks at Mittens for Detroit have put together an entire webpage dedicated to handmade mittens, and while they even mention searching Ravelry for mitten patterns, they make the following suggestions for a knitting pattern and a crochet pattern. We also love Tin Can Knit's The World's Simplest Mittens pattern.

Donations are accepted year-round, and we have a box in the shop where you can drop off your finished items!

Pairs of mittens in various sizes stacked on top of one another.
Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits.

Crafting Support

Mittens for Detroit operates a Facebook group for MittenMakers where makers of all levels can share patterns, photos, and support one another's efforts.

We also offer classes and workshops throughout the year that focus on mittens and/or necessary skills for knitting and crocheting mittens. Check our Classes page for current offerings!

Not local or more of a video learner? We are always trying to grow our library of video tutorials on our YouTube channel - MFY+.

More About Mittens for Detroit

From MittensforDetroit.org...

Mittens for Detroit, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the purpose of collecting, purchasing, and distributing new mittens and gloves to children, teens, and adults in need in Detroit, Michigan, and other underserved cities. Thousands of people donate new pairs in collections at public and private collections. The pairs are counted, sorted, and packed by hundreds of volunteers, and they are distributed by a network of nearly 100 agencies, nonprofits, schools, shelters, medical facilities, and other organizations that pass them out to their clients, families, and students.

Mittens for Detroit was founded in 2010. Today Mittens for Detroit is a well-respected nonprofit, with an office in downtown Detroit. Thousands of people contribute to the mission each year – with donations and volunteer time. MFD has grown since 2010, collecting and distributing more than one-quarter million pairs of new mittens and gloves, as a result of the kindness and generosity of thousands of donors and volunteers who focus on our mission every year.

Two individuals sorting through donated mittens for Mittens for Detroit.
Photo courtesy of Mittens for Detroit.


A Brief Interview with Mittens for Detroit's Executive Director, Wendy Shepherd

MFY: How did you get involved with Mittens for Detroit?

Wendy: In November 2012, I moved home from Seattle to Detroit. In December I was having a big birthday party, and I wanted charity donation instead of gifts. I found Mittens for Detroit on the Internet, fell in love with the idea of warming hearts, two hands at a time, and decided that was the charity for my party. My 30 friends brought 150 pairs of new mittens and gloves! When I took the gloves into the MFD office, I asked them to hire me to be their outreach manager, because there were so many of my friends who had heard nothing about MFD, which was started in 2010. It turned out that they were actually looking for a part-time Executive Director and the volunteer in charge said to me “But who’s going to walk in here and want to do that job part time?” I raised my hand, saying “That would be me!”

I started as their first employee and Executive Director in April 2013, and I’ve never looked back. I love this job, because I am able to use every aspect and skill that I have learned over the years and bring them into my job, including knitting, crocheting and sewing!

MFY: Are you a knitter or crocheter?

Wendy: Both! As far as mittens, I am a knitter, preferring to knit on two needles. And to be honest, I am a bit scared of double pointers, unless I’m knitting Knitted Knockers. I learned to crochet from my grandmother when I was about 11, and I learned how to sew from a class at a yarn shop when I was 40.

MFY: What makes handmade donations extra special?

Wendy: Mittens for Detroit receives about 30,000 pairs of new mittens every year. We’ve collected and distributed more than 375,000 pairs since 2010. When I came onto the job, I reached out to the charity knitting, crocheting, and sewing communities to let them know that we were around and would welcome handmade pairs. The reaction was amazing! While we had always receive handmade pairs, the quantity grew tremendously. Pairs came in not just from Metro Detroit but from all over the country. This is something we are very proud of, that every year we receive somewhere between 1,500-2,000 pairs of new mittens that are handmade. These come from individual MittenMakers as well as clubs and groups, and even from scouts and students. It’s amazing.

We have received handmade pairs from MittenMakers in Michigan, Florida, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Alaska, Maryland, Maine, Illinois, Texas, Washington, California, and we even have a blind knitter making mittens in Alberta, Canada. It is nothing short of amazing.

What is so special about the handmade pairs are that they are in fact handmade! Every stitch is made with the best intention in love by the maker. The time, energy, and resources, that these makers put into these sweet mittens, as well as the expense of postage for out of towners, conveyed by to the person who ends up wearing them.

It’s important to know that even our Big Sort volunteers notice when they are holding handmade pairs, and they comment on how amazing it is that people care enough about others to take the time to create such beautiful work for someone who they will never meet.

The loving and kind messages that the MittenMakers attach to the pairs send love, kindness, encouragement, and hope to the people who wear them. To know that from the MittenMakers hands to the hands of those who receive them all of that energy and love is conveyed, it’s very touching and special.

Well, it should be obvious that I don’t know how to be short and sweet when it comes to talking about Mittens for Detroit or about how incredible the MittenMakers are.

I really think that expanding the outreach to MittenMakers near and far is one of the things that I am the most proud of that I helped bring to Mittens for Detroit. 

Connect with Mittens for Detroit

In addition to their primary website - mittensfordetroit.org - you can connect with Mittens for Detroit on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!

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