Year-round, Robin Wheeler and a small group of volunteers gather at the Penbrook United Church of Christ to knit, crochet, and organize scarves.
But one Saturday each year they "bomb" Harrisburg.
"The Scarf Bombardiers" exploded through Harrisburg last Saturday with a rather warm, hazy type of bomb. In the city center there were over 320 scarves for those in need in winter.
"This is bringing scarves as soon as possible to the people who need it most," said Wheeler, the event organizer.
The group of just under a dozen hung scarves on railings, duck and cow statues, and bike racks from Market to State Street, in Riverfront Park, on City Island, and some in Midtown. Some even made it to Steelton.
"There are many people who need and want help, but don't ask for it," said Wheeler. "This gives us the opportunity to reach these people."
The scarf bomb was started a few years ago by Suzanne Volpe, who has since moved to Pittsburgh and started the "bombing" there, Wheeler said. Wheeler and others got involved when Volpe created a Facebook page to invite others to join the campaign. When Volpe left, Wheeler took the reins and it became an annual event.
This year, Wheeler hoped the scarves could reach even more people in need as many residents suffered a financial blow from the pandemic.
She loves the way the scarves look when they're done, all colorful and blowing in the wind, but she's even happier when people pick them up and wear them.
She remembered a time when she gave a man a scarf to come by later and see how he was wearing it.
"He looked so proud to have it," she said. "It really warmed my heart."
After this year's scarf bomb is ready, the team will have plenty of time to prepare, but Wheeler already has the first scarf ready for next year, she said.
If you would like to volunteer or donate new, carefully used or handmade scarves, send a message to the “Scarf Bombardiers” on Facebook. People can also donate to Penbrook UCC and set the money for the scarves. Wheeler assures that the money will be turned into yarn.
"That little bit of kindness can let someone know that they are not alone and that someone cares," she said.
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