The Moorestown library is collecting new winter wear for the needy through Monday, Jan. 8.
Items such as mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and socks can be placed on the Tree of Warmth inside the library.
“There had always been a tree in the library for many years that the Women’s Club set up, and people could donate toys for children at Christmas time,” said Jen Dunne, the library’s head of youth services. “At a certain point, they stopped doing that, but the interest in giving still remains very strong in Moorestown.
“It’s such a generous community that people were asking, ‘Are you going to put up a tree? How can we give this holiday season?’” Dunne added. “So my director (Joan Serpico) threw out the idea (of), ‘Why don’t we put up a tree that people can put warm-weather gear on?’”
All items are donated to The Unforgotten Haven in Blackwood, whose mission is to help the less fortunate. The nonprofit works in partnership with churches and other community organizations.
“We can always count on our community,” Dunne noted. “They are so generous and they really seek out opportunities to give … People still wanted that tree and they wanted an outlet for their giving, so it just really worked out well that there was this other mission that we could align with and support.”
Given the time to donate, the library wanted the Tree of Warmth to go beyond the holiday for a few reasons.
“It’s a winter mission,” Dunne explained. “It’s not just oriented around the Christmas holiday … because practically speaking, we know that people will probably receive some things for Christmas that they might not be able to use. So we wanted them to have the opportunity to put them on the Tree of Warmth and then have them donate it.”
Individuals can take anything they need from the tree.
“It’s right there and you’re welcome to take it,” Dunne said. “It makes it easy and anonymous, and whatever you see that could benefit you is yours.”
This year marks the Tree of Warmth’s fourth season and Dunne is proud of the library and the community for helping others in need.
“Giving and sharing is so important to us as a community,” she pointed out. “I see it not just around the holidays, but in so many different partnerships that the library has with other community organizations, like MooreUnity, MooreKids and Moorestown Pride …
“There are just such great organizations in town that are interested in connecting people and serving people and making sure that everyone has a place and has what they need,” Dunne added. “I’m really proud of this community for their spirit of generosity and outreach, and for the library picking that up and being a part of it as well.”
For more information on the Tree of Warmth, visit the library’s website.