'It's love, it's compassion': Woman crochets to keep people warm this winter

Published: Dec. 28, 2017 at 9:29 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2017 at 9:47 AM EST
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Operation Warmth scarf (Source: NBC12)
Operation Warmth scarf (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's no denying the cold has set in. It is important to wear gloves, hats and warm coats with temperatures in the twenties or below. The reality is, not everyone has warm clothing - or even a warm place to stay - during these winter months.

"We've had a lot of late snows in the last few years. My goal is to make sure we have enough to go out for those who do need them," said Jenny Lane.

Lane is leading Operation Warmth on a mission to keep people warm by crocheting scarves. She's asking the community to join her efforts through knitting or crocheting items to be left through the City of Richmond and beyond.

"We intend to tie this to fences, street poles," explained Lane."Places where people are going to stand on a corner if they're homeless, and they're going to see it and they're going to know it's something they can have."

Each item will have a tag that reads: "I am not lost! If you're stuck out in the cold, take this scarf to keep warm."

Lane says the idea was born out of a thought at 2 a.m. to pay forward kindness. She's seen the effort done in other states and wanted to do the same in the Greater Richmond area. Lane says she's been through tough times, giving her compassion and empathy for those who may not have shelter.

"I've been where a lot of these people are. I was lucky enough that people were kind to me," said Lane.

In the City of Richmond and Petersburg, there are cold weather shelters open. The City of Richmond is opening the doors of a cold weather shelter from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Dec. 28:

Residents in need of overnight shelter are asked to report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities (511 W. Grace Street) during operational hours for a comprehensive intake and referral to the appropriate shelter. Shelter registration is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  For individuals who are not eligible for existing shelter space or if all available beds have been filled, Commonwealth Catholic Charities will provide a referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.

The City of Petersburg has teamed up with the Red Cross to open a temporary warming center at the Petersburg Transit Station on West Washington Street.

The warming center will be open from 3 p.m on Dec. 28 and will remain open until temperatures reach above 30 degrees.

Chesterfield County does not have an official cold weather shelter, but they encourage those looking for a warm place to stay to use the public library during open hours. They also offer a Homeless Point of Entry, you can contact them by phone: 804-648-4177.

"With it being 19 during the day today, that's a big concern now too. We're not just dealing with it after dark. Imagine how cold it's going to be tonight, if it's only 19 now," said Lane.

The temperatures continuing to drop pushes Lane to keep the effort going, reaching out on social media to anyone she can.

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, Operation Warmth is teaming up with The Broken Tulip in Carytown as a part of their weekly stitch night. The Operation Warmth stitch night will be dedicated to collecting any completed scarves or warm weather items, as well as yarn to make more.

"It's a busy time for a lot of people, but its also a time to reflect, with it being the beginning of the year, on people that don't have what you may have," Lane explained.

She's hoping to continue the effort and collect as many items as possible through March. She also plans to have more meet-ups in other counties, to collect items.

"It's love, it's compassion," said Lane.

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