OAKLAND — On Monday night, the “warm heart angels” put up 13 coats matched with scarves, gloves and hats on a fence in town. Early Tuesday morning, only four were left.

The clothing is donated by people in the community, then organized and hung up by volunteers who want to make sure everyone has what is needed to stay warm.

The project started last year, when Jo Wood was in Augusta for a meeting. When Wood walked outside, she saw coats hanging from a tree.

There was a note on each jacket saying, “Talking about if you’re cold, this gift is for you,” Wood said.

Wood, a hairdresser, decided that her town, Oakland, should do the same for its residents who don’t have much.

“I think there’s a need for it, really,” she said. “I hate to think that a kid went without, or a parent went without warm clothes. It’s going to get cold.”


So Wood, along with several other community volunteers such as Kelly Graham Roderick and Angela Jurdak, started collecting and organizing winter gear to hang up around town.

Monday night they got together at the Fire Department to organize the clothes, so that each coat has a hat, scarf and gloves pinned to it. Each set has a heart-shaped note with it that says, “If you’re cold, this gift is for you. Always remember that someone cares.”

“Before we even finished, a man came along,” Wood said. The group gave him a coat, hat, scarf and gloves to brave the winter cold.

This year Cynthia Scarano, executive vice president of Pan Am Railways, gave the volunteers permission to hang clothes on the fence along the railroad at the corner of Oak and Church streets.

Wood asked that people don’t try to hang up clothes themselves, as she has to keep track of them and make sure they are tied up securely so they won’t blow away or onto the tracks. She collects donations for the project at 64 Pleasant St.

A lot of people donate “bags of stuff,” Wood said, adding that the project is truly a group effort. Last year children came and helped organize the clothes, and she said it was “just precious” watching them volunteering.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239


Twitter: @madelinestamour

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