I started crocheting a long, long time ago and then started knitting in 2005. You'll love it once you get the hang of it!
I've made chemo caps and donated to them to both friends of friends or family as well as sending them to people who've asked here in the forum.
I've made children's vests and sweaters that were sent to groups that delivered them to both US and overseas destinations.
Preemie hats and clothing to members who asked here in the forum.
Local hospitals, shelters, veterinarians, etc often accept donations. At the top of the page is a whole thread full of links. But, here's a few ways to look as well.
I've knit for these last two a few times, too.
And finally.... don't give up on patterns. Reading them really isn't difficult. Just do it one step at a time. You'll find lots of posts here in the forum where people are asking about what words mean or how they do something. We all had to learn sometime.