Many of us are still in summer mode, feeling like BBQs and poolside lounging were just yesterday. For some members of our community, the reality of the upcoming winter is all too real. Lisa Dodge is aware of this and has set out to provide comfort to those who might be without shelter or warm clothes. I met Lisa today at the Daily Grind to get some insight into her Scarves in the Park project.

Lisa stated that there was a small initiative last year led by another member of the community, but extremely cold weather and other factors had resulted in a poor turnout. This year, she isn’t willing to wait on someone else. She is resolved to work diligently to make the project bigger and better. So far, Lisa has over 200 who have indicated they are willing to gather at War Memorial Park on Saturday, December 12 to hand out scarves, hats and mittens to those in need and place those not immediately claimed around the park for pick-up at a later time. Park officials have indicated that they will allow the items to remain for the taking for one week following the event.

When discussing the plight of our area homeless and impoverished with Lisa, she said that she feels there is some lack of apathy for what people may consider self-inflicted conditions. “We are all people,” is the message that Lisa wishes to spread. At this year’s event, there will be light refreshments such as warming hot chocolate and snacks, but one day Lisa hopes to build the initiative to the point that it is possible to provide a hot meal. There is something special about the opportunity for those who come to give, and those who come to receive, to sit down at the same table and share a meal, stories and ScarvesPArkcomfort for the day.

Lisa invites anyone who wishes to join her to come with warm clothing and other items to the main Pavilion at War Memorial Park on Tennessee Avenue. Some people have put forth the idea of wrapping the clothing in water proof plastic bags and even providing small snack kits with items such as crackers or granola. “Your imagination is the limit,” Lisa stated, when it comes to helping the community.

Small, inexpensive items such as scarves and hats are a great opportunity to practice the Three T’s of Community Involvement. Lisa stated that many of these items are available for a single dollar at discount stores. They are also great projects for recreational knitters to work on throughout the year. If you wish to donate these items, but December 12th won’t work for you, please contact Lisa at ldodge25@yahoo.com to arrange for drop-off. You may also access the Facebook site.

11/18/2015 Update: Additional items needed are: thermal socks, toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene items, shampoo, body wash, Band-aids and non-prescription antiseptic), coats & blankets (gently used is fine), small non-perishable snack items, bottled water and hard candy.

Thanks to area stores for donations of items to the cause: Martins, K-Mart and Bundle Up Baby.

Finally, Living Waters Family Worship Center will also be setting up a kiosk to provide coats and other outerwear.

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