Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Get out your red yarn!

Knit a scarf for a parentless child at college [and get a bagel? yes! though that's not the point. :-)]

The cut to the chase version of the press release below: knit a red scarf, which will be given to a young person attending college who's in foster care when at home. A token of love for Valentine's Day! Einstein Bros. Bagels will offer one free bagel to any volunteer who works on a scarf for the project in their store during the campaign week, as well as to customers who drop off a handmade scarf for the youth. Coupons are required for the free bagels and can be picked up at area yarn and craft shops in each market.

If you can't get to an Einstein location, you can mail your scarves to:
Orphan Foundation of America/ Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive, Suite 130 · Sterling, VA 20166-8511
Deadline for mailing scarves is: January 28, 2006

Or if you're going to TNNA, you can drop them off there. I'd better get knitting!

[The cool image at left is a promotional poster to support the effort...not an issue of Knits, btw.]

And now, the full story:

Orphan Foundation of America Teams with
Einstein Bros. Bagels to collect 2,500 handknit and crocheted scarves for Valentine’s Day Care Packages

STERLING, Va., January 9, 2006: Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) has joined forces with Einstein Bros. Bagels to send warmth and encouragement to America’s college-attending foster youth. Einstein Bros. Bagels will collect handknitted and crocheted scarves, preferably in shades of red, for OFA to send foster youth in Valentine’s Day care packages.

All 419 Einstein Bros. Bagels stores in 29 states are participating in this effort. The goal of the partnership between OFA and Einstein Bros. is to collect 2,500 scarves for the first annual national Red Scarf Project. “We hope many of our regulars-not to mention newcomers-will stop by their neighborhood restaurant and make a contribution to this cause,” said Einstein Bros. President and CEO Paul Murphy. “We are pleased to partner with the Orphan Foundation of America and do our part to make a difference.”

The Red Scarf Project is part of the National Care Package Program created by OFA and the Freddie Mac Foundation to ensure that young people aging out of foster care are encouraged to succeed as adults. Three times a year care packages, assembled by individuals and volunteer organizations, let foster youth experience the same excitement as their friends when they receive a box from home. These packages show them that are valued citizens in the wider community. The annual back-to-school event is held on Capitol Hill in September, hosted by Members of Congress and their staff.

An estimated 13,000 foster youth are attending colleges and universities this year, most without any family support. They are success stories in progress; studies show that less than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school and fewer than 18% go on to college or vocational training programs.

“For young people without loving families and homes, receiving a beautiful, soft handmade scarf sends a powerful message that people care about their hopes and dreams and believe in their potential,” said OFA Executive Director Eileen McCaffrey. “We ask that people attach a small tag to the scarf with their name and city and group affiliation if any so that it will become a treasured gift from a distant friend.”

The Red Scarf Project is endorsed by The National Needlework Association (TNNA) and Interweave Knits magazine. “Interweave Knits is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful effort,” said Editor Pam Allen. “I am delighted that our fall 2005 Washington, DC Knit-Out and Crochet scarf contest has become a national initiative and is a cornerstone of the Care Package Program. We are proud of the hard work of needleworkers across America to make this program a success.”

“The National NeedleArts Association is pleased to partner with the Orphan Foundation on the Red Scarf Project,” said Executive Director Patty Parrish. “The needlearts are known to help promote concentration, self esteem and well being, bringing comfort to both the creator and the recipient. By knitting or crocheting a scarf and dropping it off at any of the supporting Einstein Bagels, you are supporting foster children across America who want to further their education.”

The Lily Chin Signature Collection, the first signature yarn created by an American knitwear designer, is the official yarn of the Red Scarf Project. Beginning in Fall 2006, every skein of Lily Chin’s Grammercy Yarn, a 100% superwash merino wool in the color red, will bear the logo of the OFA Red Scarf Project. Lily Chin, known for her appearances promoting the knitwear industry on Martha, the David Letterman Show, the CBS Early Show, ESPN Cold Pizza, DIY’s Knitty Gritty, Lifetime’s Handmade by Design, and HGTV’s Sew Much More, will be a spokesperson for the charity.

Needleworkers who do not live near an Einstein Bros. Bagels location may send scarves by mail, with their name, address, and email address to:

Orphan Foundation of America/ Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive, Suite 130 · Sterling, VA 20166-8511
Deadline for mailing scarves is: January 28, 2006

SOURCE: Orphan Foundation of America (OFA)

Web sites:

About The Orphan Foundation of America
The Orphan Foundation of America advocates for older foster youth who were never adopted and offers a comprehensive scholarship and support program. OFA annually awards over $11.5 million to students nationwide. The Freddie Mac Foundation is the founding partner of the National Care Package Day Program, and Gifts In Kind International and Otis Spunkmeyer are sponsors. FedEx is the official carrier of the Care Package Program.