12/22/2022 – SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield City Library is circulating a special way to help its neighbors this winter: Patrons are donating mittens, hats, scarves and gloves to be distributed to neighborhood charities.
The “mitten trees” in all library branches give residents “the opportunity to see the Springfield City Library as a good neighbor, one that clearly cares about the quality of life of folks in our community,” said Diane N. Houle, adult and youth information services manager and manager of the Mason Square Branch Library. “The library can be a vehicle of change in the city, and by collecting winter accessories, it gives everyone involved a sense of community. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Last year, the libraries collected more than 250 items; the hope is to reach at least 400 this year.
“Items are usually donated to neighborhood charities so that branch libraries can impact the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” Houle said.
For example, goods collected in Indian Orchard may go to the Survival Center. Items collected in Brightwood may go to Grey House. Each library has the opportunity to decide where the items may go.
New or handmade items are preferred.
Items of all sizes are needed; more adult-sized items are needed at most locations.
The Springfield Library system has been collecting mittens, gloves, hats and scarves since Dec. 1 and will continue the collection through Dec 31.
The libraries have undertaken the mitten tree program for nearly 30 years.
“Some families make an annual donation and come to the library early in December to drop the hats and mittens off and take a photo,” Houle said. “Even the smallest donation is helpful. It’s an easy way to give back to the community.”
One person in the Mason Square knitting group on Friday afternoons makes sure that the tree is well stocked. “She will spend extra time making hats so that we have plenty of items to give to our charity,” Houle said. “Receiving organizations are always grateful. It’s always nice to have these kinds of items available for folks who need them.”
For more information on the Mitten Tree project, call 413-263-6828, ext. 293.