- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Scarves, hats and gloves are showing up all over Gadsden, tied around trees and tucked into benches.

It’s a new ministry at Harvestfield Church that is proving to be of timely importance.

Many of the items are knitted or crocheted and have a note attached. It reads: “I’m not lost. If you’re stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep you warm.”

It’s an idea Cathy Kruse came up with several weeks ago when she saw a similar ministry promoted on Facebook in some cold areas of the United States and Canada.

Kruse originally is from the Chicago area and knows the importance of keeping warm in cold weather.

She said she pitched the idea for the ministry to Dave Bolin, an associate pastor at the church; Scott Swann, home missions coordinator; and Tracie Keenan, youth minister. She hoped they could get it started by next winter.

But someone asked “Why wait?” and they started it in early February.

“It has just mushroomed,” Kruse said.

She said about 22 scarves and 36 hats already have been given away. The items have been tied on benches and trees in downtown Gadsden and at the libraries in Gadsden and Alabama City. She said they also have placed some socks at the libraries to be given away to anyone who needs them.

The church also is involved in several other ministries, including the Salvation Army. The children’s ministry, HFC Kids, has collected change and used it to purchase trolley tokens to be given to the Salvation Army. Those who seek shelter at the Salvation Army typically do not have transportation and can use the trolley tokens to get to doctor appointments and jobs.

Kruse said the supply of scarves and hats has gotten low, and the church has had inquiries from people wanting to donate. She said some people have crocheted or knitted items they have given to the church to be handed out through the ministry.

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Information from: The Gadsden Times, https://www.gadsdentimes.com

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