Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Craft for a Cause director Melissa Brown works on a baby blanket at Cross Pointe Church Sunday in Duluth. Craft for a Cause is a local crafting group that uses donated and discontinued fabrics and makes it into blankets, dresses, hats and other knitter materials and donates them to local and international charities.
DULUTH -- There is a small group of women at Cross Pointe Church who meet every Sunday night. It isn't for Bible study or praise and worship, but for a different activity: Craft for a Cause. Director Melissa Brown and her group knit, sew and crochet clothes and blankets to donate to local and international charities.
"The church had approached me because they knew I was involved in knitting," Brown said. "They had this idea to form a crafting group for women, and we took it from there. If I weren't here, I would be doing this at home alone on a Sunday night."
The group began meeting on Sept. 11, and since then they have been creating blankets, hats, scarves, dresses and whatever else comes to mind to send to those in need. They have sent more than 50 handmade blankets around the world and 100 pillowcase dresses to an orphanage in Ethiopia.
"I'm always crocheting and knitting for the grandkids, but its nice to know that it's going to some orphans who really need it," Maggie Brand of Lawrenceville said. "I like that (my work) is going to other places to keep children warm. I knit anyways, now it's going to benefit someone who needs it."
The women find inspiration for fresh ideas all over the place and start creating.
"We've been working on whatever people want to work on ... whatever strikes their fancy," Brown said. "People come up with new ideas all the times. One lady suggested making helmet liners and neck coolers for the military. It was such a great idea."
Since the group begins projects on a whim, they also select places to donate that suit their cause. Right now, Patricia Hoyte of Lawrenceville is making baby caps, which will be given to Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Someone else suggested helping Wellspring Living of Duluth, where they rehabilitate girls and women who have been sexually abused.
"Wellspring has a thrift store where they sell things that they make to go back to the program," Brown said. "We decided things like the jewelry and hand bags -- things that aren't critical needs -- could go to programs like that. They can sell them, or the girls can use them and make a profit and continue to work on the rehabilitation."
With all of the different projects continuously evolving and growing, the group works through many supplies, but so far, all of the supplies has been donated. One woman associated with the church has connections in the upholstery business and was able to give the group boxes of fabric that they have sown together for quilts, dresses and shorts. Cross Pointe also gave Craft for a Cause some money, which allowed Brown to buy an industrial-size roll of batting to put into the quilts.
Yet, they are running low on knitting supplies.
"I gave a box of yarn to an elderly woman thinking she wouldn't use all of it up," Brown said. "In three weeks, she used everything, which really was a great problem to have (because she made more donations), but now we're running low."
Some of the women have begun buying their own supplies, but they don't mind. They are happy to be apart of something good.
"It's a blessing to do this for children who don't have anything," Hoyte said. "I love to knit, I think this was a great thing. I have the yarn and my family doesn't need anything, so I will make things for them. It really touches my heart."
Brown and the ladies would like to expand their group to members in the their church and members in the community -- anyone who is interested in crafting for the needy.
"We would love other people to join us. They don't need to be a part of our church or any church for that matter," she said. "I think that it's really important that women get together and have a place that we can do something like this. I hope it keeps growing. It would be awesome to have people from every walk of life was in here: from teenage girls up to old grandmothers."
If you are interested in joining the group or would like to donate supplies, email Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. They group meets every Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m.