SCHENECTADY – In the coming weeks, you may start to see trees and benches decked out with scarves and gloves all around Schenectady County.
It’s part of Keep Schenectady County Warm, a Public Health Services initiative that brings together crafters, non-profits and those in need.
“I think it’s a great way to engage community members who have a love for knitting and crocheting, give people some purpose when many of us are inside trying to stay safe and stop the spread,” said Schenectady County Legislator Sara Mae Pratt.
Public Health Services is collecting handmade hats, scarves and gloves from local crafters and will place them around the county for anyone who needs them to take. Each item has a laminated tag with information about different non-profits that can provide everything from food to shelter.
“Anybody can help themselves to these items,” Pratt said, “not only do they serve to help keep people warm in the colder months but I think my favorite part of all is it’s connecting people with those resources and organizations that could really help go the extra mile and connect people with the services that they may need.”
Since the initiative started two years ago, Health Services has collected and placed 512 items. It’s hoping to collect many this season, which has been a particularly difficult one.
“When the pandemic hit we also saw a huge uptick with the local crafting community really just heeding that call and sending in handmade masks to the county for our community to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Pratt said, “That was incredible.”
There may be a similar show of support within the crafting community for this project, especially since many are spending more time at home than ever because of the pandemic.
“There may be a lot more people at home, maybe with a little more time on their hands to contribute to this project, which is wonderful and we welcome anyone to do that. It’s also very possible that we may see a lot of individuals, maybe more so compared to years past, who may require some of these items to help keep them warm,” Pratt said.
The initiative is open to crafters of all skill levels.
“You don’t have to be a world-class knitter or crocheter. Anything is more than welcome and appreciated. We certainly encourage anyone who wants to get involved to do so,” Pratt said.
Those who would like to donate can drop off handmade gloves, scarves and hats during in-person hours at eight of the Schenectady County Public Library branches, except Woodlawn, which is closed for renovation, or on the first floor of the County Office Building at 620 State St. Donations will be collected through January 11, 2021. For more information, visit schenectadycounty.com.