INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dozens of winter clothing items are sprinkled through a downtown park, some with notes to explain they're there to help. Visitors at University Park first noticed the scarves, hats and gloves early this week.
It's a mystery who placed the clothing on trees, bushes, statues and posts at the park. The park, located just south of the Indiana War Memorial Museum, is managed by the museum. A spokesperson there said he was not aware how the clothing got there.
It's unclear how many items were originally brought to the park, but roughly 25 to 30 items were there as of Thursday afternoon.
Some articles of clothing have notes attached that read, "I'm not "lost".... I was left here FOR YOU! Enjoy the warmth, and hugs from this old lady's creation!"
The effort is getting support from at least one organization out to help area homeless.
“I think it’s very cool," said Steve Kerr, the chief development officer for the Wheeler Mission. “I think it brings awareness to the homeless.”
The Wheeler Mission works with area homeless on a daily basis. Part of the organization's work is to try to keep everyone from spending a night outside between November and the end of February.
Kerr said the mission has more than 100 men, and 50 women, all sleeping on the shelter's floor.
He said the person or people behind the clothing at the park can send a message to the people struggling to find a warm place.
“Groups like this who send messages saying, you’re not alone, is a powerful message to someone experiencing homelessness," he said. "Especially someone who is experiencing homelessness for the first time.”
Working with people facing homelessness, Kerr said the gesture doesn't go unnoticed.
“Most of the men and women we serve recognize the compassion of our community and feel gratitude," said Kerr. "We talk to them all the time and they’re grateful for the services they’re receiving.”
A group by the name of the “317 Ryders” have held an event called Scarves 4 Indy in the past that have involved putting out winter clothing to help others, but a person with the organization said their event for this year is not until Sunday, Dec. 17.
A museum spokesperson said he would like people interested in leaving winter clothing, or anything, at the park to contact them first.