Money may not grow on trees, but in Upshur County, donations of much-needed winter apparel do

The 'Warm Wishes Tree' by Stockert Youth & Community Center offers hats, mittens, gloves and more for anyone in need

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BUCKHANNON – This week’s forecast indicates each night and morning will prove quite chilly in the Buckhannon-Upshur area – and even shows snow is predicted for next Saturday and Sunday.

Residents should be sure to dress warmly; but what happens to those children and adults who do not own warm socks, gloves, mittens, winter hats, beanies or scarves?

One solution offers a way for folks to get the items they need while allowing others to assist by making much-needed donations.

The Warm Wishes Tree, located outside of the Stockert Youth & Community Center at 79 E. Main St. in Buckhannon, has made its second appearance. Upshur County Family Resources Network Director Lori Ulderich Harvey said the rack came from the former Diane’s Hallmark Gift Shop. It’s a gathering area for people who want to help neighbors in need and for those who find themselves in need of warm accessories for their extremities.

“This time last year, we established the ‘Warm Wishes Tree,’ so people who need something warm to wear can get it, anytime of the day or night,” Ulderich Harvey said. “We don’t do a drive or anything like that – we just put it out on our email and social media that we are looking for items for the Warm Wishes Tree and enclose a picture of it.”

Harvey said her message lets folks know the Warm Wishes Tree is empty like the trees on the mountains from which leaves fell in late October.

“When the donations come in, the sets are packed into ziplock bags to keep the contents nice and dry,” she said. “Then they are pinned to the wires on the tree. That makes for a whole array of socks, scarves, hats, mittens and gloves of all sizes.”

She said whoever is walking by may choose items they need to stay warm over the winter months.

“It is full right now, but I am sure it will get picked over again soon,” Ulderich Harvey said. “We received several donations this last week. We kept the Warm Wishes Tree going up through March last year and it has heavy traffic.”

The ‘Warm Wishes Tree’ is fully stocked, but that could change soon as temperatures dip, said Upshur FRN director Lori Ulderich Harvey. The tree is located at the Stockert Youth & Community Center, 79 E. Main St. / Photo courtesy Lori Ulderich Harvey

She said when new apparel first goes up, there seems to be a run on the warm items.

“We get things that are new as well as items that are gently used for the Warm Wishes Tree,” Harvey said. “We also have had donations of items that have been hand-knitted or hand-crocheted to put on the tree.”

Ulderich Harvey said to her, it is a perfect example of a project where community members help other community members.

“I would like to get the word out about the Warm Wishes Tree for two reasons – so people know it is there for them to select items from for use, and for people to have the opportunity to donate items for those in need,” she said. “Stockert Youth Center accepts donations for the Warm Wishes Tree, and they allow us to keep the tree on their property.”