Hats of Hope
Kaylee Shirrell


Hats of Hope Inc. began as a single hat for my grandmother, turned into my Girl Scout Gold Award project, became a non-profit organization, and continues to provide hope and encouragement, not only for cancer patients, but anyone who might benefit from a special hat.

After watching my grandmother lose her hair during chemotherapy and commenting that her head was always cold, I knitted her a hat. I realized that if my grandmother needed a hat, there must be other people who could benefit from one as well.  My efforts began in December 2008 and as of December 2011, that single hat has turned into over 10,000 hats (we have officially stopped counting) plus hundreds perhaps thousands that have been made and donated directly by wonderful volunteers throughout the country!
In addition to cancer patients, Hats of Hope have been donated to AIDS patients, homeless shelters, neo-natal units, VA hospitals, inner city school children, and many others who are in need of a hat.
"Hats of Hope" is now in hospitals and cancer centers throughout Central Indiana and has expanded into other states including: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, and hopefully others that we are not aware of at this point.
With support from the Brownsburg West Middle School Art Students' Service Learning Grants and various other grants and donations, I have been able to make community service kits for the public's use. If you are in the Indianapolis, IN area and you are interested in borrowing a kit for your group or organization, click on the "Hats - Community Service Kit" page link on the left. If you are outside the local area, there is information on the "Hats - How You Can Help" page that will assist you in getting started making hats.
My family has been very supportive of the project from the very beginning. They have helped make hats, conduct workshops, and sort and deliver the hats to hospitals and cancer centers throughout the country. In 2010, we incorporated Hats of Hope and my sister Krystal officially joined me as an officer of the non-profit.
Thank you for taking an interest in Hats of Hope.
- Kaylee
CLICK HERE to learn what you can do to help.


Krystal Shirrell


As a result of Grandma's cancer and a special hat, my project began. In 2009, during one of the hat making workshops at the library, I heard about dialysis patients needing to control body temperature. Then I attended a Veterans Day banquet, was inspired to support and encourage Veterans going through dialysis, and my Girl Scout Gold Award Lap Pals project was born. I began making patriotic lap blankets. In order to have sufficient quantities, I reached out to middle school students and senior citizens and taught them how to make the blankets. Over 300 blankets have been made and delivered to Veterans.
While delivering blankets, I heard about the domiciliary for homeless Veterans. I began researching and the statistics were alarming. Wanting to help, I met with a Chaplain at the VA medical center to learn more. After one visit to the domiciliary, my blanket project quickly evolved into VETSupport and is contributing to the White House initiative to support our military and the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs initiative to end homelessness among Veterans.
Service efforts have continued with monthly Bingo for homeless Veterans, collection drives for comfort items and supplies, a campaign with over 17,000 thank you pictures distributed to Troops and Veterans, Christmas trees and care packages sent to our Troops in Afghanistan, personal visits with Wounded Warriors, and ongoing volunteering at the VA Medical Center.
Please see the pictures and other pages for additional information to find out how you can help!
- Krystal
A video was made in March 2012 describing the VETSupport project.
Click to watch video or enter the following link in your browser 


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