Wind speeds in Minnesota last night were up to 60mph. I heard it mentioned that the combination of the low pressure system that planted itself over our state and the high speed winds created--in essence--a level 3 hurricane right here in the midwest. Temps dropped into the 30s in these last few days of October and we all received a wake-up call that winter is most definitely coming.
I immediately started to get the hats, mittens, scarves and boots located, sorted and ready to go for my family. But for every hat that I pulled out of storage and dunked into a warm bath in the sink to wash for my loved ones, I thought of all of the people who aren't so lucky this year.
Homeless shelters in Minnesota have already turned families away due to overflowing capacity this month and (up until yesterday) it's not even that cold yet. With this flat economy that we're still stuck in, this news doesn't bode well for the coming winter.
What can we do? One way we are choosing to help is to knit warm hats for the people who aren't so lucky as to have a bed--either in a home or a homeless shelter--this winter. This handmade gesture is for more than just warmth. We are sending a message that our homeless neighbors matter and are not forgotten.
Our numbers are way up in this second year of Hats for the Homeless and we are astounded, amazed and grateful! Already, more than 160 hats have been collected and distributed to needy folks and we have another 330 sorted and ready to go.
Folks, that's almost 500 hats and we're not even at our "deadline" yet!
But let's not get too comfortable with ourselves. This work is amazing and this engine seems to be running at steady pace. But we are intentionally not capping (pun intended) our limit this year, knowing that there are an estimated 13,000 homeless people on the streets of Minnesota every night.
We have a great stockpile of hats for women, teens and kids at this point. Our current need is:
1.) Hats for men. Big, warm, "pull down over your ears" hats for men. If you are a female knitter, the hat should be a bit big on you. (See the notes in the Knitting Patterns page at the top of this blog for details. The homeless men we met last year really wanted plain, dark hats. Please pay attention to this and avoid stripes, embellishments and patterns.)
2.) Hats for newborns, babies and toddlers. We have a new connection to an organization working with homeless teens and a lot of them have small children. We need to cover all the heads.
Please keep up the knitting and keep sending your hats in (details and mailing address here). The hats we've received so far are so beautiful and so warm. They are very much appreciated now and will be even more appreciated once they are given to our homeless neighbors.
p.s. USE WOOL! Minnesota winters are too cold for synthetics.