- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - “I am not lost. Please take me.”

That was the simple phrase printed out and attached to scarves that Sarah Kreager and her husband hung around The 400 Block in early December, just in time for the annual holiday parade, USA Today Network-Wisconsin (https://wdhne.ws/2iTOTY6 ) reported.

She wanted to leave the scarves out for those in need of a little warmth as temperatures dropped and snow started to fall. She took the idea from a worldwide group of knitters she had joined called Knit & Chat. She had seen other knitters try similar projects in their communities, and she thought of the need in Wausau.

“It just shows those in the community who can’t afford things that their neighbors care,” Kreager said. “They don’t want you to be cold or sick.”

The scarves that were hanging at The 400 Block were gone the next morning when Kreager’s husband went back to check.

So Kreager created her own Facebook page for Wausau and surrounding areas, called “Chase the Chill Central Wisconsin.” The group is aimed to bring together residents who enjoy knitting, crocheting or even tying fabric together to make scarves.

“It’s the first year I’ve had a little bit of free time and I’ve been good enough at knitting,” said Kreager, who has two young children.” The kids wouldn’t wear the things I was knitting, so I could donate them.”

The Facebook group also helps Kreager connect with people interested in knitting and helping the community, like Maggie Andreas.

Andreas has been very active in the group since it started, helping Kreager to get her ideas organized and encouraging the group members to donate and create for the holidays.

“I did it for something to do, to give back to the community,” Andreas said. “When it’s negative 10 degrees outside and you see people ducked in and shivering, you think, ‘What can I do to make your life better?’”

When she’s not at work as a cashier at County Market, Andreas is knitting, crocheting or organizing supplies for volunteers. Not every member in Chase the Chill knows how to knit - but they can help in other ways, such as by donating supplies.

“We did receive a donation to purchase yarn,” Andreas said. The group has accepted donations of gift cards and money, but their favorite is a donation of yarn. That way, they can get straight to work.

Chase the Chill Central Wisconsin has about 20 members now, and Kreager hopes more people will join as they hear about its efforts.

“Hopefully next year we can blanket The 400 Block more,” she said.

Kreager and Andreas encourage anyone interested to join the Facebook group. From there, efforts will be coordinated throughout the year, leading up to the colder winter months.

“We can always us more people to help,” Andreas said. “There are about 40,000 people in Wausau. That’s a lot of people who could use a little community love.”

___

Information from: Wausau Daily Herald Media, https://www.wausaudailyherald.com

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