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Royal Oak Sharing the Warmth Passes Along Handmade Winter Wear

Royal Oak Sharing the Warmth Passes Along Handmade Winter Wear

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 10, 2021)

Royal Oak MI – In these cold winter months, people without shelter have fewer places to go inside to be warm.  Knowing this makes it even more critical for the volunteers of Sharing the Warmth to keep restocking the railing by the Royal Oak Public Library with new and handmade winter items for people in need to take.

The effort began four years ago and is sponsored by the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts, with many of the contributions being handmade gifts. The items are hung on a railing coated with colorful crochet, and people are welcome to take what they need.

“We initiated it and found a core group of knitters, crocheters, weavers, and needle work creators to keep the project alive.  This year we have added handmade face masks,” Coordinator Denise Reske said.   “Royal Oak yarn shop Ewenique Knits has been a supporter, donating yarn and items knitted by their customers.  Different knitting groups, including Helping Hands from the Senior Center, have also donated items.”

Each year over 100 items – like hats, gloves, scarves, and boots – are lovingly put to use.

There is a drop off bin in the library lobby for people to donate.

Emily Dumas, Royal Oak Library Director remembers the pre-COVID days when Sharing the Warmth would hold knitting circles in the library space.  While volunteers are working remotely, they stay connected through the Royal Oak Public Art Project – Sharing the Warmth Facebook group.  And the Library is helping out by bringing in the items.

“We are taking extra precautions this year due to COVID and are isolating items for 2 weeks minimum before hanging on the railing,” Reske said.

“I am so proud that the library is able to be involved with this project,” Dumas said  “These Michigan winters are brutal, and it’s especially concerning this year when the library is closed and people aren’t able to come inside to warm up.  I hope that these items are able to provide comfort and safety for those in need, and I think it’s a beautiful service that the Sharing the Warmth group offers.”

A similar, but unrelated, project also takes place at the railings of the Rust Belt Market in Downtown Ferndale, with items of many kinds available for those in need.

For more information visit the Royal Oak Public Art Project – Sharing the Warmth Facebook group.

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