In the spirit of the holiday season, GW is starting to get ready for Valentine’s Day by partnering with an orphan non-profit group to help make care packages for college-age orphans.
The GW Red Scarf Project, sponsored by the Orphan Foundation of America, GW’s Office of Communication and Creative Services, and the Office of Community Service have started knitting scarves for a national program run by the Orphan Foundation.
GW is one of the many groups contributing to the foundation’s Red Scarf Project. Annalisa Assaadi, the national events coordinator at the Orphan Foundation, said the goal of this nationwide project is to knit as many red scarves as possible for college-age orphans.
“These red scarves will be part of a care package that will be sent to college orphans on Valentine’s Day,” Assaadi said. The care packages will include a red scarf, cookies, candy, school supplies and gift cards.
The foundation hopes to get around 5,000 red scarves total to send to the students. GW hopes to knit 250 scarves to contribute to the program.
“A University community like ours is the perfect group to reach out to foster and orphan college students,” Carrie Warick, who is running the program at GW’s SASS Office of Communication and Creative Services. “We felt that the goal of 250 scarves would make an impact while still being a feasible goal.”
Warick said that Deborah S-nelgrove, chief creative officer and senior executive director of communication and creative services, learned about the National Red Scarf Project through her knitting interests and suggested GW get involved.
The GW Red Scarf Project, which runs from now until Jan. 18 has has so far gotten very positive feedback from the GW community and many are willing to help knit or crochet, including both undergraduate and graduate students, staff and parents. All scarves are being submitted to the Office of Communication and Creative Services on 20th and K streets.
“This office is the collection point so that tags with a message from the GW community can be added to the scarves,” Warick said.
Although this is GW’s first year contributing to the National Red Scarf Project, this is the second year that the Orphan Foundation has done this. Last year Assaadi said the project went tremendously well and about 2,500 scarves were knitted total. She expects the foundation to double that this year.
Assaadi added that hundreds of groups and companies all over the country are donating scarves to the National Red Scarf Project.
“The gift packages that will be sent to the college kids on Valentine’s Day to offer support and encouragement for them while they are struggling through college,” she said. “Most of the time these kids have no family to turn to when they need help. It’s nice that they will have a little something to get them through these tough times.”
These care packages are sent to the Freddie Mac Foundation in Tyson’s Corner, where FedEx sends the care packages to the students. This is the second of three care packages that the foundation sends to students throughout the academic school year. The other packages are sent in September and in April.
“The students don’t receive mail often,” Assaadi said. “Simply receiving a small package is very meaningful to the students. They know that some one out there cares.”
Warick said that the people she has talked to so far who are knitting scarves at GW are very passionate about helping out the college-age orphans.
“The holiday spirit contributes to people’s desire to help, but the recipients are the greatest motivator for the scarf knitters,” she said.
Assaadi said the Orphan Foundation appreciates the support from universities, especially since the orphans they are trying to help are students.
“Every person can make a difference,” she said. “Especially at GW, it’s touching to see college students helping other college students.”