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Have you heard about the Red Scarf Project?

This post originally appeared on November 20th, 2013. But it’s such a great cause, I’m reposting it with additional information!

What happens to a child in the foster care system when they turn 18? They’re ‘adults’, and are set out into the world alone, and without a network of family or social resources.

Sad, right?

If those kids are awesome enough to get themselves into college… who sends them care packages? Who do they call if they need an emergency $50 for a surprise textbook?

In most cases, they have no one to turn to.

Makes you sniffle, right?

That’s why I love Foster Care to Success, an organization that supports foster care children who have ‘aged out’ of the system. The organization collects money for emergency funds and runs other great drives to support this often-overlooked population.

I particularly love the Red Scarf Project. I read about it in Craft Activism.

Red Scarf project

The Red Scarf Project collects scarves from September 1st – December 15th every year, and then distributes them to a foster student on Valentine’s Day.

Isn’t that sweet? Can you imagine how special you’d feel if a handmade scarf with a sweet note showed up on your door? And what a boost that would give to your semester?

That’s why I’m knitting one!

Red Scarf Project

I didn’t feel like I had the time: the Kit Club packages, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, planning for the holidays… and then I told myself “Balarky! You can make the time! These college students don’t have families!”

And surprise… I’m finding the time!

Join in!

Can you spare the time?

Nothing fancy is required, just a simple red knitted or crocheted scarf. Check out the guidelines, here.

This link tells you where to mail the scarves, as well as the not-too-hard guidelines (basically is red, gender neutral and about 60″ long). Pattern suggestions, too!

Sweet extras, such as a hand-written note, are welcome!


  1. Thank you for blogging about this. I had never heard of it and I really love the idea. I am going to try and eek out the time. I have a trip that will take me 13 hrs each way for Turkey day and I should be able to bust something out.

  2. so happy to see you spread the word about the Red Scarf project –and I hope many of your readers will send in scarves. I feel lucky to have met some of the student recipients. It is just as you imagined–they are quite openly touched and appreciative of getting a handknit scarf,it made me get choked up to witness. (and the folks who work at Foster Care to Success are also the nicest group you’d want to work with, too).

  3. kate SAYS...

    Lovely idea, but maybe they won’t want to stand out so much by being a ‘red scarf kid’?

    • Red is a pretty popular color… I walk by lots of folks on the street wearing red scarves. I don’t think anyone would feel like they’re marking themselves as a ‘foster kid’ by wearing one!
      Maybe if the scarves were ‘chartreuse with an elephant on them’, then they might feel singled out…
      I think the joy and excitement that comes from receiving a handmade, heartfelt gift trumps it all!

  4. I’m Norma, whose picture is in the squinty far right of that page in Craft Activism. Such a wonderful project, and since I have been a little less active in the project for the past couple of years, I’m so glad to see others pick up the baton and run with it. A great post, thank you!

    I, like Gale, have met many of the student recipients. They are AMAZING and sooooo appreciate the red scarf care packages!

    • Hey Norma! Thanks so much for writing in! 🙂

  5. Justine SAYS...

    not sure if I can make one in time for this year. but will definitely participate next year. as a university professor I love the idea of supporting former foster students in college.

    • Thanks, Justine! It’s a project that goes on every year, so you can do it next year! In fact, you can make them all year long, and ship them in when they accept submissions again 🙂

      • Justine SAYS...

        yes, that’s what I’m thinking. I can make one or more in the new year and mail them when the time comes.

  6. Amanda SAYS...

    I read about this in the 1-2-3 Crochet magazine. I try to support a few charities every year and I thought this was a great one. I just sent off four scarves to help show these kids that people do care.

  7. Mona SAYS...

    Yes! I just made 2 red scarfs! Awesome I will join this project! I love this!

    • Thank you so much for contributing, Mona! That’s so awesome of you!

  8. Paula SAYS...

    I actually have a “Foster” son. So I know exactly what you are talking about. My sons BF(they are now 26), when in High School, my son asked if we could take him in. Of course, to turn away a 13 year old boy no I couldn’t do that. I was diagnosed with my disability at the time and also have two children of my own, and at the time my in-laws( mother-in-law, brother-in-laws and sister-in-law lived with us, so whats one more person right.. lol I could NEVER turn a child away, an adult, thats easy. So Adam lived with us all through middle school, then High School and it was me taking him to College (Rutgers, he received a Full Scholarship) and when he graduated he Thanked me, his “mom” for everything I did… This is Amazing Stacey and you can definitely count me in as well as me sharing this with every Crochet group I belong to. This is a GREAT Project and everyone deserves a gift for Christmas..

  9. carol SAYS...

    AWSOME idea and so easy for us who have soooo much! I am sending this to everyone I know, AND. having a “Girls for Lunch” (including one guy friend too who I know will do it!) to get a group of us started on the knitting/crocheting together.

  10. Bailee SAYS...

    Hi! Do you know if they are still doing this? I emailed the website but haven’t heard back. I’d love to contribute!

    • Judy SAYS...

      I just received an email today (12/5/18) that states:
      Thank you for your interest! This project is still going on. We will start accepting scarves for next year in September 2019.

      Foster Care to Success

      23811 Chagrin Boulevard, Suite 210
      Cleveland, OH 44122

  11. J SAYS...

    I’m seeing this in July 2022 — is this project still happening?