St. Jerome Youth group raises awareness, donations for the homeless

NORWALK—It may appear as though there is an epidemic of lost scarves locally as the colorful neckwear is springing up throughout many Norwalk locations, but instead the scarves, which are tied to trees and poles throughout the city, are a reminder from the St. Jerome Youth group to think of the homeless population this winter.

Twenty members of the 60-member youth group TOTAL which consists of high-school age students, spent Saturday morning tying donated scarves to trees and poles throughout Norwalk with the following note attached: “I’m not lost. If you’re stuck in the cold keep this. If you don’t need it, please donate hats, coats, gloves, or scarves to the Open Door Shelter.”

The reminder to the community to think about the homeless population in frigid weather, is part of the group’s larger initiative to support homeless people locally according to St. Jerome Youth minister Joe O’Callaghan. “We saw on Facebook that somebody had come up with this idea and it fit in perfectly with the youth group initiative to draw attention to, and to help, the homeless population,” O’Callaghan said. “We took that idea and tied scarves on trees and poles at the Green, in South Norwalk, on Main Avenue, Washington Street and in front of City Hall to ask for the community to donate much-needed items to the Open Door Shelter.” Items on the shelter wish list are: Hats, gloves, scarves, coats, and new socks.

“Our group has been taking on the issue of supporting the homeless population in Norwalk and in this cold weather, it’s important to remember people who don’t have the basic items to keep warm,” he said. “In the fall we had Night In a Box, in which we slept in boxes in the church parking lot to have the kids get a sense of what the experience might be like.” In a plea to parishioners at St. Jerome, the following appeared in the weekly church bulletin: “As part of ‘Keep Jesus Warm’, TOTAL is collecting hats, scarves, gloves, jackets and NEW socks that will be donated to the Open Door Shelter. Scarves have been tied to trees around Norwalk by the TOTAL teens to raise awareness for the homeless plight as part of the ongoing Night in a Box project. Items can be dropped off in the blue bin in the hallway. Please encourage family and friends to make a donation to the shelter.”

O’Callaghan stressed the importance of involvement by the entire community to make donations to the homeless shelter. “We have started to ramp up the drive for donations at the church, but with the scarves around town we want to remind the whole community to become involved,” he said. “Donations can be made directly to the shelter or people may bring their donations to St. Jerome and we will deliver them.”

St. Jerome Church is located at 23 Half Mile Road, Norwalk.