The library will provide people with yarn to take home and craft blankets, hats, mittens, booties or other items to be donated to Las Vegas Valley charities and nonprofits.
“You come in, you get a skein of yarn from us, you take it home, you create whatever it is you can create from it,” said Shakita Kirkland, a librarian and the organizer of Crafting for a Cause. “Bring it back to us, and we’ll make sure it gets to someone who needs it.”
Kirkland moved Henderson from Indianapolis, where she was a teacher, in August 2014. She got the idea for the program after running a nonprofit in Indiana, which provided brown-bag lunches to the homeless during the holidays, she said.
“I saw kids who come in, and it’s November, December, it’s cold outside, and all they have is a sweatshirt,” Kirkland said. “… How many times have we walked past a kid and they’re cold, and we can actually make a difference?”
Kirkland submitted a proposal to the library to buy 35 skeins of yarn, with a goal of getting 20 people to register and donate 20 to 30 items to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, which serves meals to the homeless.
“I had only been here for a month, so I really didn’t know if this would work or not,” Kirkland said. “I ended up with 42 people who registered, and we ended up with over 292 completed projects … I was pretty floored.”
In 2015, Kirkland had 67 participants, and she ended up with 352 completed projects.
In 2016, with no money to buy yarn because of budget constraints, the libary asked the public for donations. Residents donated 2,400 skeins and over 1,200 items to six charities.
“When I reach out to these organizations asking if they’d be willing to accept this kind of donation, they only assume we’re bringing in maybe 50 or 60 (items) at the most,” Kirkland said. “But I come in with two or three huge bags; I feel like Santa Claus.”
The Lullaby Connection is a nonprofit that provides items for newborn babies whose parents can’t afford clothes, blankets or hygiene products, according to Darla Hayden, executive director for the organization.
“I don’t know how (Kirkland) even found us, but it was great,” she said. “It’s one of those miracle finds.”
Kirkland’s goal is to donate 1,000 items this year.
“A lot of us are a situation or a paycheck away from being in someone else’s shoes that are less fortunate than us,” she said. “So why not give back and help why you can?”