Craig woman pays it forward, staples winter items for giveaway to utility pole |

Craig woman pays it forward, staples winter items for giveaway to utility pole

Craig woman staples winter items for giveaway to utility pole

Winter gloves, hats and scarves in plastic bags adorn the utility pole at Sixth and Ranney streets in Craig on Wednesday morning, free for the taking for anyone who needs a little extra warmth this winter.
Lauren Blair

— Pass through the intersection of Sixth and Ranney in Craig, and you may notice something especially colorful about the utility pole on the northeast corner.

That’s because for the last several weeks, it’s been covered in winter hats, gloves and scarves stapled to the pole in plastic bags with a sign reading, “If you need something to keep you warm, please take one!”

The spontaneous offering is the work of one longtime Craig resident who was inspired by an idea on Facebook and wanted to do her part to pay it forward this holiday season.

“I saw the idea on Facebook and thought, ‘Oh! I could do that!,’” Karen Jewett said after reading about someone tying scarves to tree branches. “I just went to the Community Budget Center to get some hats, gloves and scarves.”

The first evening, Jewett put seven items on the pole. When she awoke for her 5 a.m. shift at City Market, only three were left.

“When I came home at 1:30 p.m., all of them were gone, so I went to get more stuff,” she said. “I try to put new stuff out every day. I do my best.”

When Karen Brown, executive director of the Community Budget Center, caught wind of Jewett’s idea on her second or third trip through the store, she offered to donate some items.

“It’s a very heartwarming idea,” Brown said. “There are people that need this stuff because it’s going quick!”

Thursday afternoon, Jewett thumbed through the rack of winter items at the Budget Center, searching for colors and styles of hats, gloves and scarves that she could pair together into matching sets. She tries to provide something for everyone: men’s and women’s styles, kids and babies, too.

Jewett shared an anecdote she heard about an elderly man with a cane taking one of the items, witnessed from the dentist’s office across the street. In another instance, she came into work and heard a young co-worker sharing her delight about the item she’d found on the light pole.

“I could help someone I worked with and that felt great,” Jewett said. “I don’t want any thanks or recognition. I just want to help people.”

While at the Budget Center, Anthony Aldrich — recently returned to Craig from Los Angeles — heard about the light pole and went to check it out for himself.

“I didn’t have a warm hat yet, so this is amazing,” he said after picking out a green knit beanie.

Though the Budget Center is able to donate a few items to the effort, Jewett is spending her own money to purchase most of them, looking for deals at Walmart and other thrift stores in the area as well.

“If I spend my money wisely, I can get more,” she said. “But at some point, I’m going to run out of money.”

The Budget Center has offered to take donations to help Jewett keep the light pole’s inventory stocked, and Jewett simply hopes others might be inspired to do the same thing on their own corners.

Brown said she has people come in every year around the holidays interested in “adopting” a family in need, and sees Jewett’s idea as yet another way that people look out for each other in Craig.

“It represents the heart of the community. People care about other people,” Brown said. “She started it by herself and does it out of the goodness of her heart.”

The Community Budget Center will accept cash or in-kind donations of hats, gloves and scarves to go towards this effort. Specify that you’d like your donation to support the hat and scarf giveaway.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

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