The Scarf Project warms people’s bodies and hearts

  • The Scarf Project, led by Turners Falls resident Sandra Cross, hung about 90 scarves, 70 hats and 75 pairs of mittens on the Greenfield Common on Sunday, also leaving stuffed animals for children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Scarf Project, led by Turners Falls resident Sandra Cross, hung about 90 scarves, 70 hats and 75 pairs of mittens on the Greenfield Common on Sunday, also leaving stuffed animals for children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Scarf Project, led by Turners Falls resident Sandra Cross, hung about 90 scarves, 70 hats and 75 pairs of mittens on the Greenfield Common on Sunday, as well as stuffed animals for children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Scarf Project, led by Turners Falls resident Sandra Cross, hung about 90 scarves, 70 hats and 75 pairs of mittens on the Greenfield Common on Sunday, also leaving stuffed animals for children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/27/2019 7:03:11 AM

GREENFIELD — A couple of years ago, Sandra Cross was thinking about what she could do to give back to her community.

“I couldn’t offer anything substantial, but ‘I could do something meaningful,’ I thought,” Cross said. “I’ve been knitting since I was a child, so I decided that was the way to go.”

Starting Sunday, dozens of scarves of every color hung on the Greenfield Common, waiting for their new owners to arrive. Many of them were knitted by Cross, who with her daughter started The Scarf Project two years ago.

This year, Cross knitted 60 scarves herself, and another 30 were donated, along with 70 hats and 75 pairs of mittens. She was even able to distribute 25 teddy bears to local children.

“We hung most of the scarves on the common, but we also tied some around poles in downtown Greenfield,” Cross said. “My goal was 100 scarves this year, but that didn’t quite happen.”

Cross said she uses thick chenille yarn and makes the scarves wide so that they can be used to keep warm. She said they can also be used to keep someone’s lap warm, if they so choose.

The 62-year-old who grew up in Williamsburg is now living in Turners Falls. She lived in Gardner before moving to Franklin County after retiring from Verizon.

She said about 30 years ago, she was a battered woman who had to move into a shelter with her young daughter. People would bring knitted items in during the winter so that the women and their children could keep warm, and she never forgot that act of kindness. She said another act of kindness happened when she was working at Kmart around the same time.

“I called my ex, because I wanted my small ceramic Christmas tree for me and my daughter,” she said. “He wouldn’t give it to me, so my co-workers bought me a 6-foot artificial tree with presents under it. I was just amazed at how kind that was of them. I never forgot that, either.”

Cross said she watched her parents help people as she was growing up.

“Being kind and generous has always been part of my life,” she said.

A couple of years ago, she met a man as she was going into Walgreens. It was winter, cold, and he was asking for $1 to get a coffee.

“His clothes were tattered and I knew he had to be cold,” she said. “I gave him the dollar and watched him cross the street and get one at McDonald’s. That’s when I decided I was going to warm people’s bodies and hearts, and this is how I do it.”

Cross said she knits for others not only to pay it forward and to give back, but to teach her three grandchildren, ages 20, 12 and 10, that giving is an important thing to do, no matter what you have yourself. She said she hopes all of the scarves hanging on the common go to deserving homes, and that the people who wear them this winter stay warm and safe.

Cross said she did the same thing last year, except there were about 50 scarves, and eventually all were taken.

“I knit all through the year,” she said. “I just can’t get to 100 myself, because that would be about two a week. I buy the teddy bears and mittens when they are on sale. Tina Blais of Halifax, Vt., makes the hats for me.”

The Scarf Project has 15 members, so far. She’s hoping more people will join before next winter.

“We’ll set the goal at 100 again, unless I find a bunch of knitters. Then, we’ll make more,” she said. “But what I really want for now is for everyone to have a happy holiday.”

For more information or to join The Scarf Project, visit: bit.ly/34WlaEG.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.


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