Pioneers of Peace » Pioneers of Peace Walk Not Just Talk


Other than my family, the two things I love the most are knitting and social work. Looking toward the future I wondered how I could bring these two worlds together. Charity knitting is a wonderful thing and I love doing it, but the social work side of me understands that on an organizational level, money is what is needed.

Today I am thrilled to announce the arrival of the “Welcome Series,” a collection of original knitting patterns designed and published by Pioneers of Peace and friends. All proceeds from the sale of these patterns will be donated to World Food Programme the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger throughout the world.

We all know knitting has magical powers but now it can “Shape Shift” into food and much needed supplies. For every 15 patterns sold, a family of 5 is fed for one month. Another way of looking at it is for every pattern sold, a family of 5 is fed for 2 days. The joy of knitting doesn’t stop with the actual knitting, or with the person who receives the finished product. Before the yarn even hits your needles the proceeds from the sale of the pattern is filling someone’s stomach.



Our flagship pattern  the “Welcome Cloth” was originally published in 1996 in Vol 1  of The Heirloom Knitter’s Heavenly Cotton Facecloths booklet and was called Plain and Precious.  It has been updated, digitized, and is for sale on Ravelry in the Pioneers of Peace store. A very heartfelt thanks to each of the wonderful women who test knit and tech edited this beautiful pattern.


We have stepped into the role of “Knitting Activists”

Our hope is to start a movement of knitters making a difference in the fight against hunger. By combining creativity, love and purpose we can change the world. Please join us in this important work.

Visit Ravelry and purchase the “Welcome Cloth” pattern. If you don’t knit, consider purchasing it for a friend who does. Spread the word that Knitters Make a Difference

#knittersagainsthunger #popwelcomecloth #knittersmakeadifference #knittingactivists #pioneersofpeace



Greetings Friends,

It’s that wonderful time of the year when we pull out our red cups and begin the ritual of filling them with coins to feed the world’s hungriest children. We joyfully team up with the largest global organization fighting hunger which is the World Food Program (WFP) or in our case WFPUSA.

Why did we choose WFP? Because they have a track record over the past 50 years of delivering food to those in crisis, but just as important, they help remote villages learn more productive ways of farming so they can eventually build their economy and feed themselves. In other words they are not just a feel good charity but are effective change agents in creating a more secure world. That is why Bill and Melinda Gates and Howard Buffet direct their philanthropic efforts to WFP. They want their money to make a sustainable difference and SO DO WE.

Every year Pioneers of Peace raises funds for WFP’s school feeding program because we believe children are our future. Mahatma Gandhi said:



If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.

We believe this begins with education. Children cannot learn when they are starving. WFP has discovered that parents who would otherwise not allow their daughters to attend  will, if they know they receive a meal. On top of that, when children go to school they are often given extra food for their family; a win win for everyone.




Here is how it works…

Select a cup in which to collect all your spare change, from now until Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day we ask that you count your cupful of coins and donate that amount directly to the World Food Program USA, following the link provided on the Pioneers of Peace™ website.

This small effort on your part will have a huge impact on children who would otherwise remain hungry and malnourished. Just 25 cents feeds a child in school for a day.

We often think the world’s problems are too big for us to make a difference; but feeding a hungry child really does make a difference! Join us as we give hope and a brighter future to the world’s children who are most in need.

We Don’t

… Ask you for money you don’t have

… Ask you to forgo your holiday gift giving

… Ask you to starve so that you can feel the pain

… Ask you to give up your family vacation

… Ask for an ongoing monthly donation

… Ask you to donate to an organization that doesn’t have a track record

… Ask you to give Pioneers of Peace™ your money

We DO ask

… That you find a cup worthy of holding precious coins that will pay for school


… That over the course of the campaign you fill the cup with your loose change

… That you look under your cushions, empty the bottom of your purses, search through your junk drawers, pick up coins off the street, and send your children on a hunt for lost coins waiting to be transformed into nutritionally complete meals.

…That between Thanksgiving Day and Dec 1st you liberate the buying power of the change you collected by donating it to WFPUSA on the Pioneer of Peace Thanks”Giving”Cup Campaign link

We Hope

…That you take this easy opportunity to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children

…That your choice to help will have a ripple effect of goodness in the world

…That your children will have the seeds of gratitude and compassion planted in their hearts

…That you know you have made a difference

…That children who would otherwise be searching for food or working, can receive an education.

…That through all of our efforts, we will see the end of hunger in our lifetime

We are Pioneers of Peace™, doing our part to eliminate hunger in the world. Join us this Thanksgiving season in expressing gratitude through making  a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.




Dear Friends,

Have you ever asked yourself if your charity work really matters? We often knit for strangers and have no idea how our hard work will be received. This morning while writing thank you notes to those who contributed to Knitting4Peace, I had an epiphany.

My mind wandered along the blessed journey of a Peace Pal and a pair of mittens, a washcloth, and a  snuggly warm hat, and  discovered a trail full of heart shaped bread crumbs left behind at each important stop a long the way.

Take for example a Peace Pal…


First of all there is the actual joy of knitting such an adorable little toy.


Second, to those of you who contributed to our donation … you made my day. I felt your goodness and it filled me with joy, and not only that but each darling offering gave me an overwhelming “That is soooo cute” feeling. Seriously though, don’t you just want to kiss this little guys lips?


Third, our little nursery of Peace Pals made Susan, dear Susan at Knitting4Peace very happy.

Fourth, the delivery agent who carries these little guys to Guatemala must be filled with the happy anticipation of carrying these bundles of love to their recipients.

Fifththe moms who receive this offering of support and love will know they are not alone and that someone, somewhere cared enough to make a difference in their life.

and finally … Sixth, the baby who has a warm hat and a toy of his/her own will feel the love of a little PeacePal to keep him/her company.

So if you ever wonder if your work makes a difference, IT DOES!!! Thank you again for taking the time in whatever way you do to make this world a better place.


Hugs and Kisses,



P.S. Don’t forget! November 1st is coming quickly! Get your cups ready for this great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the worlds hungriest children. Check out the Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign link on this website 


Look closely... and you will see

Look closely … and you will see

In anticipation of the 4th Annual Pioneers of Peace™ Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign, I have been studying and reflecting on hunger both globally and locally. Feelings about this crisis run very deep in me.

As a young child I first became aquatinted with hunger through Trick or Treat for Unicef. How fun it was to dress up for Halloween  and go trick or treating armed with a little orange milk carton; filling it up along the way with coins destined to feed hungry children. Simply being educated about hunger at a very young age and taught that I could make a difference was not only empowering, but created in me what Volli Carucci calls “A disease of the soul.”

Looking into the eyes of someone dying of hunger becomes a disease of the soul. You see that nobody should have to die of hunger. Volli Carucci

I definitely have a disease of the soul, but it is one that I cherish.

A sacred illness is one that educates us and alters us from the inside out, provides experiences and therefore knowledge that we could not possibly achieve in any other way.
Deena Metzger

A couple of weeks ago over a period of just a couple of days I had three distinct experiences; the first of which was very sad.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was waiting in line at Costco. The woman in front of me toting three children and a very full shopping cart was approaching the end of the cashier ringing up her items. While holding one child on her hip she swiped her card to pay. “I’m sorry, said the cashier, you’re card was declined.” The mom then went through the process of pulling every card she had in her wallet; giving each a try. “Declined, declined, declined, said the cashier awkwardly. My heart was breaking as I watched this terrible scene unfold. A strong urge to pay for the groceries overwhelmed me, but the bill was over $200.00. I watched the mom gather her children, leave the cart and walk away.


Empty Plate

Empty Plate


Minutes later I was in the parking lot loading my groceries into the trunk. Another child was bouncing up and down holding a quarter in her hand. “Look, she said with glee, it’s my lucky day! I found a quarter.”  My thoughts traveled to Africa, North Korea, Cambodia, and Guatemala where a quarter really does make a child’s day, because a quarter generously donated is what provides the only meal he or she will receive that day.



World Food Program Red Cup


Fast forward a couple of more days when Richard and I were having lunch at Panera’s in Fort Collins, Colorado. I was sitting alone in our booth while Rich was standing in line waiting for our order. I scanned the restaurant watching families, friends, and co-workers happily eating their heavily laden plates. Can they really eat that much I wondered. Then my eyes rested on a nicely dressed woman sitting in a booth by herself. My first thought was, I love her hair… I wonder if I could do that, but then I noticed her pastry, latte, and newspaper. She was working a crossword puzzle. What a delightful morning she must be having, but then my diseased soul reminded me of the one red cup of food children stand in line for at the designated time optimizing sustained blood sugar levels.




The forgotten world is made up primarily of the developing nations, where most of the people, comprising more than fifty percent of the total world population, live in poverty, with hunger as a constant companion and fear of famine a continual menace. Norman Borlaug

Gandhi taught us that for there to be real peace, we must start with children. 

Heather Butters understood that principle but had it confirmed a couple of weeks ago when as a neighborhood scout master, she organized a pack meeting that combined fun with caring for the hungry.




The children dressed in their Halloween costumes were like a little army canvasing the neighborhood. Door to door they went collecting food donations, having fun while making a difference in their community. Together they collected 383 lbs of food.  Afterwards they gathered together for pictures which I wish I could show you. Allow your mind’s eye to see 20-30 proud Halloween garbed kiddos with gigantic smiles on their faces. It was a night they will never forget, but better yet, now they know they can make the world a better place.


Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat

Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat



Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry


Thanks"Giving" Cup Campaign

Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign

November 1st kicks off the 4th Annual Pioneers of Peace Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign

This Thanksgiving season we invite you and the children in your life to pause and reflect on the abundance we enjoy and  join us in doing our part to feed the world’s hungriest children.

Select a cup (symbolic of the iconic WFP red cup) in which to collect all your spare change, from now until Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day we ask that you count your cupful of coins and donate that amount directly to the World Food Program USA, following the link provided on the Pioneers of Peace™ website.

This small effort on your part will have a huge impact on children who would otherwise remain hungry and malnourished. Just 25 cents feeds a child in school for a day.

For more detail click on the Thanks”Giving” Cup link on the Pioneers of Peace website.

May this beautiful fall season fill you with wonder and gratitude and if you must catch an illness, may it be a “Disease of the Soul.”

Sending love your way,






Wise Old Owl - A Tree outside Knitting4Peace Headquarters

Wise Old Owl – A Tree Outside Knitting4Peace Headquarters

People often ask why we named our organization “Pioneers of Peace.”  


Pioneer: One who goes before to prepare or open up the way for others to follow. ~Unknown

Peace: Individual well-being, and goodwill toward others.

Put them together and you have “Pioneers of Peace”


A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Susan McKee, founder and director of Knitting4Peace, the 501c3 non profit organization sending peace through the conduit of hand knitted items all over the world. Each item that is donated is required to have a prayer or blessing said over it before it is donated filling it with love to bless the lives of the receiver. Have you ever known someone that just radiates goodness? Susan is just such a person. I hardly know her, but I love her.

I found Knitting4Peace to be a well oiled machine. It’s headquartered in 2 rooms upstairs in a neighborhood church. There are bins and bins and stacks and stacks of Peace Pals (various sizes), Baby Blankets, Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Bibs, Booties, Shawls and Quilted Sleeping Mats. I saw a big bag of preemie hats professionally labeled and ready for delivery to a local hospital.

Currently plans for shipping warm winter hats, mittens and scarves to refugees in Greece are under way. It’s one thing to collect all of the hand knitted items, but it is entirely a different challenge to fund the shipping costs. Susan estimates the cost to be about $1500.00; that’s $1.00 per item. I am pleading with you…if you can find it in your heart to send a few dollars Knitting4Peace’s way, it would be very well received. Personally I have decided that all donations I make in the future will include $1.00 for each item I donate.

My plan is to knit a Peace Pal with the leftover yarn from every project I make and knit as many mittens as I possibly can, hopefully perfecting the holess thumb gusset along the way 🙂


Hugs and Kisses by Betsy Slayton and Waiting for Winter Mittens by Susan B. Anderson

Hugs and Kisses by Betsy Slayton and Waiting for Winter Mittens by Susan B. Anderson


The crisis for Syrian refugees in Greece is grave. As I write, they are being relocated to warehouse like structures in the mountains without heat. The need for warm winter wear is great. The sooner we can ship those hand knitted items the better.

Knitting4Peace are true Pioneers of Peace. They are leading the way for those of us to make a difference in the lives of others all over the world and I encourage you to support them. Their address for both financial and knitted/crocheted/quilted donations is:

Knitting4Peace, 2600 Leyden St, Denver CO 80207

Some pictures of our donation

The Nursery -Night before the drop-off

The Nursery -Night before the drop-off




Pocket Peace Pals knitted for Knitting4Peace

Pocket Peace Pals knitted for Knitting4Peace







NEXT UP… November 1st kicks of the 4th Annual POP Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign. Do you have your cups ready? If you are new to Pioneers of Peace click the  Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign link on our website for more information. It’s all really exciting!





Sending love your way,