From its Winchester, California facility Help Hospitalized Veterans ships nearly one million arts & crafts kits annually. Of those items, HHV’s wood, leather, sun-catcher and poster-art production departments manufacture approximately 35% of the kits distributed.
In its early years, HHV shipped exclusively to VA and military medical centers. Today, a variety of facilities receive arts & crafts for their veteran and military patients.
There are hundreds of different items available within several categories — plastic and die-cast metal models, wood, paint-by-numbers, sun-catchers, poster-art, ceramic figurines and miscellaneous items such as dream-catchers, paintable tee-shirts, puzzles, writing pen kits, patriotic medallions, and latch-hook rugs. Occasionally manufacturer close-out items are purchased to infuse the craft kit line with a completely different style of kit.
Veterans often work their own magic, personalizing their kits. Leather items can be embellished with fancy tooling, creating highly fashionable purses, wallets, belts and moccasins. Plastic models can also be given “wear and tear” effects, producing a fascinatingly well-used and enjoyed finished kit.
Finished craft kits are the property of the veteran patients who assembled them, but the life of a kit does not always end with placement on a display shelf at home, nor does the therapeutic value of putting a kit together. Completed kits are often given as gifts to family, friends and therapists and hundreds have won first place after being entered in national art competitions.
“What’s a craft kit, anyway?”
Before making that first donation, folks often contact HHV to inquire, “What exactly are these craft kits? Are they only available through HHV? How much do they cost?”
The simple answer is… there is no simple answer. HHV keeps a wide variety of kits in stock so we are able to ship a well-rounded supply to the hospitals and medical centers so they in turn have a nice selection to offer veterans. Long-term patients often need more than one project to work on, so kits like the dream catcher (shown at top/left) and the poster-art (bottom/left), which are relatively easy and quick to complete, are in high demand and shipped often.
More difficult items, like pen kits, plastic models and paintings, require many hours to complete and in addition to keeping one’s mind occupied, these kits help the whole patient heal emotionally as well as physically.
There are also poster kits which come with the choice of pen or pencil to complete, giving a totally different look and feel to the finished product. There are ceramic figurine kits which are both easy and fun to work on, and the themes available are endless with day-to-day items like raccoon candy dishes and statuesque eagles to a variety of holiday-themed kits to fit just about any occasion.