A darn good cause

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 20:00
ER woman collects knit items for Project Homeless
Eagle River’s 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.

If there’s a post-Christmas sale, there’s a good chance Eagle River’s Sheri Boggs will be there.

After the holidays, Boggs takes advantage of reduced prices to load up on socks, gloves, hats and scarves.

The items aren’t for Boggs or her family. They’re for those who must endure Alaska’s harsh winters without a permanent residence.

This is the third year Boggs has supplied Anchorage’s Project Homeless Connect event with warm garments for clients.

Boggs, who’s been knitting since she was 10-years-old, said she got involved with Project Homeless because she wanted to put her surplus of yarn to good use.

In her first year, Boggs donated 300 scarves to the event. Last year, she secured more than 1,300 items — a majority coming from the inmates at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. Boggs said Hiland Mountain also donated handmade items this year.

There were so many items last year, Boggs said, she was able to donate leftovers to other organizations.

It took just one hour for all 300 scarves to disappear the first year, Boggs said. Last year, there were so many items clients could choose what they went home with, she said.

“It was almost like they were shopping,” Boggs said.

There’s no better feeling for Boggs than watching the reactions of clients as they leaf through new and handmade items.

“It’s just the smiles and gratitude you get when people get to pick their own items,” she said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

Project Homeless clients aren’t used to having new clothes or handmade scarves, Boggs said. Everyone is thankful for the donations, and Boggs said she’s proud to be part of the event.

“They’re very appreciative,” she said. “It’s really rewarding for me.”

This year’s event will take place Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Egan Center in Anchorage from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event offers a variety of services, including housing; social security; public assistance application; medical, vision and dental care; state IDs; birth certificates; haircuts; and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment. For more information on the event, visit http://www.anchoragehomeless.org/project-homeless-connect.

Boggs is accepting donations of hats, socks, gloves and scarves. She can be reached via email at [email protected].

Items can also be dropped off at The Tangled Skein in Eagle River or Far North Yarn Co. in Anchorage. Items don’t have to be handmade, Boggs said.

This year, Boggs has received items from Outside. Her neighbor’s mom mailed a package from California, Boggs said, and her friend’s mother sent items from Pennsylvania.

Boggs said her desire to help others came from her mother — who volunteers at two hospitals and was involved with Meals on Wheels.

“Giving back to your community is very important,” Boggs said.

With so many people in need, Boggs said she hopes her efforts will encourage others to give back.

“Hopefully, this will get people thinking about what they can do to make a change,” she said.


Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected]

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