One of the best things about knitting is that if you don't have anyone specific to knit something for, there are plenty of ways to knit for charity, regardless of where your sympathies lie. Local, national, or international, if you have yarn, needles, and the desire, you can do your part.
Last year - too late for me to do anything about it - I read about the Red Scarf Project sponsored by the Orphans Foundation of America. The premise is that knitters make red scarves, and send them to be distributed to college students who have spent their lives in the foster care system. The scarves are distributed on Valentine's Day, and hopefully the recipient will feel that someone cares about them, even if they are not fortunate to have any family members to send them care packages. You can find out more details, and review the guidelines for the 2007 project at: http://www.orphan.org/red_scarf_project.html.
The more I thought about this, the more I decided that I really wanted to try to participate in the 2007 scarf drive, even if I could only send a single scarf. Going to college is daunting enough under the best of circumstances, but it must be particularly lonely if you don't have a really strong familial support system. And, since scarves are accepted until the end of January 2007, even I, aka The World's Slowest Knitter, should be able to make at least one scarf. It will be a nice thing to have to do once the birthday and holiday knitting is done, and a good way to start the new year.
I would like to encourage anyone reading this to give it a try as well. You don't need to be the world's most expert knitter, nor do you have to have a vast arsenal of scarf patterns to use - I can only imagine that a garter stitch, or a Seaman's style scarf would be just as appreciated as one with an elaborate pattern. It's not necessary to use the most expensive yarn you can find, because it's not a contest to see who can make the fanciest scarf. All you have to do is knit just one scarf to be given to one other person, who may have never received a handknit item in their life. It's a chance to do something nice for someone else, just because it's a nice thing to do, and because everyone deserves to know that they are special in some way to someone. Especially on a day like Valentine's Day, when some people feel even more bereft than usual. Do you know any kids that are learning to knit, or that you are teaching how to knit? It would be a great beginner project, don't you think?
If you are reading this, and you would like to participate, I really hope you'll give it a try. If for some reason, you are hesitant to send your scarf(ves) yourself, let me know, and I will send you my mailing address, and send yours along with mine.
It can be mightly cold when you are away from all that is familiar, and pretty much on your own. Being a part of the Red Scarf Project may just be a New Year's Resolution that will be easy to keep!