Leslye Borden sold her business in 2007 and spent more time on her favorite hobby, knitting. She made beautiful outfits for her granddaughters, but realized that she had gotten carried away when she found the outfits in her daughter’s giveaway box. It was then that she decided she needed to find more needy recipients for her gifts.
She decided to start creating scarves for women impacted by abuse. She created an organization named Handmade Especially for You with a mission to provide comfort scarves to women who flee domestic violence by escaping to a shelter for abused women. The organization is based in Palos Verdes, California. In 2010, they shipped 10,000 scarves to 33 shelters. In 2011, they donated 15,000 scarves to 57 shelters throughout California.
Handmade Especially for You has found there is power in the scarves they provide. Directors at the shelters who receive the scarves often say receiving such a beautiful gift from someone they do not even know is a tremendous surprise to the women that it lifts their self-esteem and makes them open up to the counseling and education provided at the shelter, which is an enabler to change their lives. Many women who leave their abusive environments bring their children with them. The shelter staff give the children a scarf to help them sleep and they provide them some comfort in a difficult time.
You can read stories from shelter staff in a recent newsletter. One comment really seemed to summarize it well. Richard Kravetz, Executive Director of DVS for Santa Barbara County, wrote, “Thank you for your support! Your gift of 25 comfort scarves gives women and children a promise to fulfill a dream of a home and life without violence. . . . Thank you for being part of the solution.”
The organization has volunteers all over the United States as well as scarf contributors from England, Scotland, Singapore, Germany, South Africa, Australia, and Costa Rica. Volunteers can make knitted or crocheted scarves to donate. They prefer the scarves to be 4 to 4 ½ inches wide and at least 60 inches long. The organization often provides kits with premeasured yarn. Another way you can help is to donate yarn or make a monetary donation. Learn more about making a donation on their website. You can also find a listing of companies that have donated yarn on their website.
Local volunteers can assemble yarn kits, tie ribbons and gift tags on the donated scarves, and ship out boxes of scarves.