Hats and scarves for homeless available at Heritage Park in Holyoke

Local News

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hats and scarves will be available to those in need at Heritage Park in Holyoke beginning Monday.

An estimate of 200 items will be tied to lamp posts and benches for the homeless to collect during the winter months. Holyoke Mayor Josh Garcia joined Isabel Baxter-Paris, a ninth grade student at the Williston Northampton School, to make the project available to the homeless population at Heritage Park located on 221 Appleton Street.

Valley Knits was created by Isabel in 2016 when she was in fifth grade. She was inspired by a knitting- for-the-homeless project in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. “I was hoping we could accomplish two things with this program: I really wanted to teach kids to knit and to love knitting, but I also wanted to help the homeless in our community,” said Isabel.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the City of Holyoke, Mayor Garcia learned of the project and joined in the effort to help the homeless. “As the temperature plummets this week, I’m thrilled that we can put warm knitwear directly into the hands of those who need it most,” Mayor Garcia said.

Hand-Knitted hats and scarves were donated by a local library and synagogue and from knitting groups as far away as Baltimore. “This became such a wonderfully organic thing. It just spread through word of mouth and good will,” said Isabel.

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