I first met these two at their fundraising booth at this year’s National Night Out. I was impressed by both their entrepreneurial spirit and their passion to help others.
Qin and Zheng started Charitable Crochet in October 2021 with the intention of donating their homemade crocheted blankets, stuffed animals and other items to charities. The longtime friends quickly realized that the time required to make a lot of these items was restrictive. So, for their nonprofit to make a greater impact, they decided to follow two separate tracks: First, they would make and sell their own crocheted items at fundraisers and donate 50% of the proceeds to charitable organizations. Second, they would conduct classes to teach others how to crochet as another way to raise donations.
The pair initially struggled to find class space and locations for fundraisers, but in 2022, they were encouraged to get support from the employees at the local Diablo Foods. Not only did the staff donate to their cause, but the manager allowed Qin and Zheng to run multiple fundraisers in the store – which ended up raising more than $600 in donations during the summer. Lately, they have been using spaces in local libraries.
A recent fundraiser secured donations for Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. In all, the pair has raised more than $1,000.
Always looking for ways to donate their time and talents, the pair also decided to make crocheted stuffed animals and donate them to children’s hospitals this holiday season.
Qin and Zheng enjoy teaching people how to crochet and spreading their love of the craft. According to Zheng, crocheting is “relaxing and stress-relieving, so it’s rewarding to see other people also have fun crocheting.”
A typical class consists of mostly beginners and perhaps a few advanced students, with ages ranging from 6 years old to seniors. Classes are personalized to the level of the students and their interests.
Both Qin and Zheng like to crochet amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed yarn creatures. Qin has made some larger items, more than a foot tall, and Zheng occasionally crochets clothing.
“It warms my heart to know that I spend my time doing something that people could enjoy,” Qin says.
Qin attends Campolindo High School and likes to draw, write, read and watch cat videos in her spare time. Zheng goes to Acalanes High School and enjoys playing the piano and dancing ballet. Both intend to go to college but neither has specific plans.
Check out their activities online or on social media:
Charitable Crochet: charitablecrochet.com and instagram.com/charitable.crochet/
Adelina’s Stuffing Stuff: etsy.com/shop/stuffingstuff/ and instagram.com/stuffingstuff_crafts/
Lily’s Studio: lilystudio.net and youtube.com/@lilys-studio
Email comments and suggestions for future columns to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.