A movement is afoot in Maine’s largest city to provide free winter hats to people needing them.

Some public spaces in Portland are adorned with knit hats, ushankas with ear flaps, beanies and even the occasional watch cap. Hats hang from fences, trees and sign posts.

Most hats are attached to small yellow signs that say: “I am not lost. If you are stuck old in the cold, take me to keep warm.”

The city’s Monument Square crossroads is a particularly popular spot for free hats. They line a fence that surrounds a Civil War monument in the center of the square.

Some of the yellow cards remain there unattached to hats, indicating that residents have been taking advantage of the free offer.

This isn’t the first time a cold-weather clothing item has been left around downtown Portland for those in need. Portland resident Gabriella Kaper made national news in December of 2015 when she spent $5 on five heavy winter jackets at Goodwill and left them around downtown for those in need. Kaper zipped the warm layers around light posts adorned with a note: “I’m not lost! Please take me if you need me!”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.