A park in Manchester, New Hampshire, is decorated with scarves, hats and mittens — for a cause.
Hundreds of brightly colored, handmade scarves and other woolen clothes hung from Manchester’s Veteran Memorial Park, all free for the taking.
The move is part of “Scarves in the Park,” an annual giveaway started by Longmeadow Congregational Church in Auburn, New Hampshire, to help those in need stay warm during the chilly season.
Volunteers were asked to knit hats, scarves and mittens throughout the year and turned up with 400 items of clothing — an impressive effort considering at last year’s giveaway, the group was only able to donate 75 items.
The scarves are tagged with labels that contain a Biblical verse, the name of the church and the statement, “I was not forgotten here and neither are YOU! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this scarf to keep yourself warm.”
Last year, only the church members took up knitting, but as news of the activity got around, town residents also pitched in. Those who could not knit the scarves themselves were welcomed to donate their yarn to the church.
“We told people to use whatever yarn you have,” the Rev. Ruth Gallot of the church told WMUR-TV. “If you have yarn you want to get rid of, you've got it stocked in your house and are spring cleaning, give it to us, and we have knitters and crocheters who contact us, and we give them the yarn.”
“I love them, they’re handmade, they’re awesome,” said Katrina Hawkins, who picked up two scarves, one for herself, and one for her 4-year-old child. “This is a luxury for me.”
Gallot said the scarves were placed in the park and not in thrift shops because many needy people do not necessarily think of going to those places. Hanging them in the park ensured they were in plain sight and were easily accessible to everyone.
“It’s important that we give to give, and not ask the question ‘does somebody deserve my help?’” Gallot said. “We don’t want people to come and ask.”
She also hopes the effort spreads to other churches across the country.