Mitten Tree at library serves dual purpose

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When a brisk wind blows during blustery winter weather, most people put on gloves, tighten their scarves or adorn winter hats. Some people do not have such options and the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library is continuing its efforts to rectify such effort.

For more than 30 years the Mitten Tree has been a holiday staple at the library and Director Joe Jenkins has seen and still realizes its benefits.

“It’s an opportunity for people with outstanding fines to make donations toward warm weather gear for people who don’t have any,” he said. “Each item donated takes a dollar off any outstanding fines a person may have, up to $5.”

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Jenkins said donations can be made at all library branches and nonperishable food items are also accepted.

Donations of gloves, mittens, hats or scarves are taken to the Ironton City Mission and other clothing and food pantries where they are then distributed to “those who need them the most,” Jenkins said.

Several cash donations have been made for the Mitten Tree and Jenkins said that money is used to buy items that are then donated with the rest of the lot.

“We don’t solicit donations,” Jenkins said. “Many people who donate don’t have outstanding fines and a lot of people make baby blankets and scarves and donate them to us.”

The trees are located at every library in the county and will remain up for two weeks.

“The tree serves a purpose for the library in regard to outstanding fines,” Jenkins said. “It’s more about giving, however, and having the opportunity to give.”