Sue Grady – Small things can make a big difference

29 Aug

Today we will profile volunteer Sue Grady, who has turned a hobby into a way to help others.

Sue currently knits for several organizations including the PROP Shop, afghans for Afghans, and the Ships Project. Her first experience with charity knitting was for an organization based in California that provided clothing for newborns from disadvantaged families and toddlers in shelters. She was then recruited by Amy Nylander to start knitting for the PROP Shop to keep babies warm in the winter and small household items and baby booties for clients with new homes or new babies.

Sue knits for afghans for Afghans (a4A) because “it is an incredible organization that touches many women and children in the poorest areas of Afghanistan.” A4A is a grassroots effort inspired by Red Cross volunteers who made afghans, socks, slippers, and other items for soldiers and refugees during World Wars I and II and other times of crisis and need. The organization makes gifts of handmade blankets and garments to bring comfort and warmth to Afghan women, men, and children who continue to suffer from oppression, war, hunger, poverty, and sickness. “It is a way to let them know that Americans care about their well-being. This will hopefully also make the military’s job easier.”

The Ships Project was started in October 2001, when a female sailor responded to an “any sailor” letter written by the Ships Project founder. The sailor responded to the founder’s love of knitting with a joke that she could use some slippers to keep her feet warm. Since then, the project has grown far beyond that small beginning to send handmade hats, slippers, and Cool-Ties to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines deployed around the world. Sue says, “I chose Ships Project because my father was career Navy and I have a son who is in the Army National Guard. Those men and women are near and dear to my heart and knitting some small thing that will improve their situation is the least I can do.” Sue is a great example of turning a hobby into a way to help others. “I believe one should do what they can to improve someone else’s lot in life. I am not of the temperament to do big things but I can do little things that are added to others little things to make a bigger statement.”

When asked what others can do, Sue states, “There are so many opportunities out there that it is easy to find one that can use your talents whatever they may be. Pick one that speaks to your heart; that you will truly enjoy participating in.”

I couldn’t say it better. The purpose of this blog is to inspire volunteering and Sue is a great example of doing things that may seem small but they mean so much to those who receive those handmade items. While I was learning more about these organizations to write this profile, I found a section of the Ships Project website that includes thank you letters from the troops. This one really sums it up… “It’s obvious someone, somewhere took the time to hand make these hats and I just wanted to let you know that your works are very much appreciated here. It is amazing that what may seem like a small thing to some, really is a huge morale booster for us. I wouldn’t trade this hat for anything that is “store bought” because it is my constant reminder that great Americans such as you know we are here and support us. Thank you once again from my heart and most importantly… from my warm head!”

You can find out about the organizations that Sue volunteer’s with using these links:
The PROP Shop:
afghans for Afghans:
Ships Project:


Posted by on August 29, 2010 in Volunteer Profile


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Sue Grady – Small things can make a big difference

  1. Sue Ellen Toppings

    August 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Awesome this world has people like Sue in it – find your passion and use your talents to make the world (even just a small portion) a better place!


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