Students wrap up warmth for the homeless

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — “I’m cold out here, but there are others who are homeless and live in the cold out here. I hope these scarves help warm them up a little bit,” said Kayla Overton as she hung handmade scarves on trees along the Mississippi River. “It’s really cool to help out the community.”

Anne Marie Amacher
Sofia Magalhaes, a confirmation student from Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport, ties a scarf on a rail along the Davenport riverfront on Jan. 6.

The confirmation student was one of 20 youths from Our Lady of Victory Parish’s religious education program and John F. Kennedy Catholic School who braved the cold temperatures and wind chill Jan. 6 to tie more than 200 scarves on trees, poles, railings and benches at LeClaire Park in downtown Davenport.

Chase the Chill project is in its third year for OLV/JFK confirmation students, said Lisa Willows, the parish’s catechetical ministry assistant/confirmation coordinator. Students crocheted scarves the first two years but made fleece ones this year. It was easier for the students to do, and they completed more scarves themselves. Additional scarves were made and donated by parishioners. Women from the parish’s Prayer Shawl Ministry crocheted scarves for the distribution, Willows said.

“We all got to make a scarf,” religious education student Sofia Magalhaes said. Although it was optional to go to the riverfront to hang up the scarves, she felt good about going outside in the cold to help those in need. Student Bekah Riewerts also chose to help support the community and make sure people stay a little bit warmer with a scarf.

It took the 20 students only 15 minutes to tie scarves throughout LeClaire Park. Willows works with the City of Davenport, its parks and recreation department, and Downtown Davenport Association to get permission to place the scarves along the riverfront and to ensure they will not be removed by city representatives for two weeks. After that, the scarves will be removed, washed and distributed to homeless shelters, Willows said.

Chase the Chill was founded in Pennsylvania in 2008. The project “celebrates the art and beauty of knitting and crocheting, building community, generating positive interest in a location, and sharing with others,” according to Chase the Chill website.

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