ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Greensburg group spreads warmth with hat, glove distribution

Jeff Himler
| Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, 5:18 p.m.

Zippered bags stuffed with winter hats, gloves and scarves appeared Sunday afternoon hanging from trees, fences and parking meters in downtown Greensburg.

The timing of the fourth annual free distribution of cold-weather essentials, left where local residents in need can find them, couldn’t have been better, as overnight temperatures during the weekend dipped into the 20s.

Inspired by scarf giveaways that were occurring in larger cities, Greensburg’s “Hat and Gloves With Love” project has broadened the concept to include a full complement of gear for protecting heads, necks and hands from the cold.

This year, about 30 volunteers gathered Sunday at the Westmoreland Community Action Program offices to sort donated items and stuff and hang 4,000 bags, labeled for the gender and age level of the intended recipient.

“It makes you feel good when you see all these people who are concerned about people in the community who are in need,” said Carl DiPietro of Hempfield, a board member of Feeding the Spirit, the Greensburg-based charitable program that spearheads the outerwear distribution.

Many people who lose their winter hat or gloves simply go to the store and buy replacements. But board member and event organizer Deb Thackrah noted, “Not everyone can do that. There are people in our community who can’t afford to buy them for themselves or their kids. We want to raise that awareness in people.”

Fellow board member Patricia Elliott-Rentler witnessed that fact when she saw a young boy approach a project volunteer after claiming one of the offered scarves.

“He wanted to know how to put it on because he’d never had a scarf in his life,” she said.

Other organizations have become involved in the project. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art set aside time for knitting groups to gather and fashion items for the distribution, Thackrah said.

Stephanie Turin, who teaches human services and social work courses at Westmoreland County Community College, brings some of her students to help fill and hang the bags.

As part of its mission, Feeding the Spirit strives to reduce “barriers to housing, employment and food security.” At 5:30 p.m. each Thursday, it offers a meal to those in need at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Greensburg.

“I think people come because of the community fellowship,” Thackrah said of the meals. “You can be yourself. We’re not going to critique or categorize you.”

Visit feedspirit.org for more information.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

Cousins Deacon Mace, 8, of Irwin, left, and Ben Debes, 7, of Hempfield, hang bags filled with donated outerwear on a fence Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, along Maple Avenue in Greensburg.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Cousins Deacon Mace, 8, of Irwin, left, and Ben Debes, 7, of Hempfield, hang bags filled with donated outerwear on a fence Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, along Maple Avenue in Greensburg.
Volunteer Sandy Martin of Salem Township prepares a bag of donated outerwear for distribution Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmoreland Community Action office in Greensburg.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Sandy Martin of Salem Township prepares a bag of donated outerwear for distribution Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmoreland Community Action office in Greensburg.
Feeding the Spirit board members Lynn Wagner, left, and Deb Thackrah affix colorful tags created by second-graders at Hutchinson Elementary School to bags of donated outerwear Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmoreland Community Action office in Greensburg.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Feeding the Spirit board members Lynn Wagner, left, and Deb Thackrah affix colorful tags created by second-graders at Hutchinson Elementary School to bags of donated outerwear Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmoreland Community Action office in Greensburg.
Volunteers Alyssa Kotick of Trafford, left, and Cathy DiPietro of Hempfield sort donated outerwear Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmorleand Community Action office for the annual “Hats and Gloves with Love” distribution in Greensburg.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Volunteers Alyssa Kotick of Trafford, left, and Cathy DiPietro of Hempfield sort donated outerwear Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at the Westmorleand Community Action office for the annual “Hats and Gloves with Love” distribution in Greensburg.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me