When the news is filled with stories that can depress even the most optimistic person, Impact Features writers are searching for the stories that will make you smile.

Students at Buckinghamshire New University have gathered together to keep the homeless warm this winter. Textiles students at the university have been knitting patchwork quilts to donate to Wycombe Winter Night Shelter. They hold knitting sessions on campus to encourage fellow students to volunteer their time to the cause and donate squares to add to the project.

Knitting is usually regarded as no more than an enjoyable pastime, and often as a hobby reserved for retired women with hands as knobbly as their oversized homemade jumpers. In reality, stitching has become a valuable service for the vulnerable people of our society, a charitable act done by young people aspiring to make a difference.

“Stitching has become a valuable service for the vulnerable people of our society”

There are many charities which have caught on to this increasing trend. Project Linus is another charity which promotes a similar cause, providing blankets to children in need. In fact, knitting blankets for the homeless appears to have become widespread: a global phenomenon. It is not only UK students who have been stitching for charity – Dulaney Engineering students crochet blankets for the homeless as part of their curriculum.


Perhaps the most innovative project is that of students in Michigan. Not only do their crochet skills benefit the homeless people in the area, the team work with a mindset of sustainability. The sleeping mats they create are made from unused plastic bags, so instead of going to landfill they are crocheted together to build blankets to keep the homeless warm. This specific project is particularly ambitious: the students plan to make 880 mats using 616,000 plastic bags. The students, from Three Rivers community schools, are currently seeking pledges of $200 for each mat to fund their ‘Miles for Mats’ mission.

This story is certainly a positive yarn to spin. Not only is it refreshing to see a break from stereotypes, with students taking up their needles instead of their shot glasses, it is especially touching to see young people teaming together to help those in need.

Beth Webb-Strong

Embedded image: tiffany terry via Flickr. Featured image: Kara via Flickr

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