Eagle River woman seeks help for the homeless

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 13:36
  • STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH Sheri Boggs poses with some of the scarves, mittens, hats and gloves she’s collected for Project Homeless Connect at her home in Eagle River, Alaska on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.
  • Donated items at Alpenglow Elementary in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Sheri Boggs)
  • Bags of donated clothing items fill Sheri Boggs’s living room in Eagle River. (Photo courtesy of Sheri Boggs)
  • STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH Sheri Boggs talks to a reporter while holding one of the scarves she’s collected for Project Homeless Connect at her home in Eagle River, Alaska on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.

Sheri Boggs has been warming holiday hearts — and hands, feet and heads — since 2010.

And she’s not slowing down.

“Oh my gosh, it’s grown exponentially,” Boggs said the Saturday before Christmas during an interview at the Star offices in Eagle River.

Boggs collects hats, gloves, socks and scarves to donate to Project Homeless Connect, an annual event in downtown Anchorage that puts homeless people in contact with social service agencies and donated goods. Many of the items Boggs collects are handmade by members of the local knitting community; some have been helping out for years.

Collection points are set up at the Tangled Skein knitting store in Eagle River and the Far North Yarn Company in Anchorage. Local schools also participate in gathering items, and inmates at Hiland Mountain typically supply a thousand or more handmade garments.

When Boggs first started gathering items for the program, she gathered about 300 items.

“When we first started I used to count, but now it’s gotten too be too big,” she said.

One local woman has already made 200 knit hats, she said.

The project has grown to the point where people at the Project Homeless event aren’t limited in the number of items they can take with them.

“The first year we did it we had like 300 items and they were gone in an hour,” she said. “Now it’s gotten to the point where it’s almost like shopping, they really have a variety.”

That means it’s possible for people to get outfitted completely for the winter.

“They really have a variety,” she said. “Instead of giving them a pair of socks, we can give them a week’s worth of socks, we don’t have to limit them.”

Boggs is currently asking local teachers and schools to join in the project. Last year, Alpenglow Elementary students, parents and teachers gathered 1,500 pairs of socks.

Donation boxes can be set up at schools, and Boggs will pick the items up by Jan. 22, she said. She thinks helping those less fortunate can be a great way to teach students the value of giving.

“I think if they get involved at a young age, maybe they’ll be compassionate and giving adults,” she said.

This year’s Project Homeless Connect event will be held Jan. 24, 2018 at the Egan Center in Anchorage.

Anyone wishing to participate can contact her at ascarf4u@gmail.com or visit her website at ascarf4u.blogspot.com. For more information about Project Homeless Connect, visit the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness at anchoragehomeless.org.

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