Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Group “bombs” Harrisburg with free scarves for the winter

Scarves on a bike rack on N. 2nd Street.

Throughout the year, Robin Wheeler and a small group of volunteers gather at Penbrook United Church of Christ to knit, crochet and organize scarves.

But one Saturday a year, they go “bomb” Harrisburg.

“The Scarf Bombardiers” exploded through Harrisburg this past Saturday with more of a warm fuzzy kind of bomb. They hung over 320 scarves in the downtown area for people in need during the winter.

“This gets scarves to the people that need it the most, as quickly as possible,” Wheeler, the event organizer, said.

The group of just under a dozen hung scarves on railings, duck and cow statues and bike racks from Market to State street, in Riverfront Park, City Island and a few in Midtown. Some even made it to Steelton.

“There’s plenty of people that need help and want it, but don’t ask for it,” Wheeler said. “This gives us a chance to reach those people.”

The scarf bombing was started a number of years ago by Suzanne Volpe, who has since moved to Pittsburgh and started “bombing” there, Wheeler said. Wheeler and others got involved when Volpe created a Facebook page to invite others to join the action. When Volpe left, Wheeler took the reins, and it became an annual event.

This year, Wheeler hoped the scarves might reach even more people in need, as many residents took a financial hit due to the pandemic.

She loves the way the scarves look when they are finished, all colorful and waving in the breeze, but she’s even more pleased to see people picking them up and wearing them.

She recalled a time she gave a man a scarf, only to drive by later and see him wearing it.

“He looked so proud to have it,” she said. “It really warmed my heart.”

With this year’s scarf bomb finished, the team has plenty of time to prepare, but Wheeler already has the first scarf ready for next year, she said.

For those interested in volunteering or donating new, gently used or handmade scarves, message the “Scarf Bombardiers” on Facebook. People can also donate to Penbrook UCC and designate the money for the scarves. Wheeler assures the money will be turned into yarn.

“That little bit of kindness can let someone know they’re not alone and somebody cares,” she said.

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