A Lonsdale woman spent her Saturday leaving homemade presents for the homeless in St. Paul. Elizabeth Sammons had a heart transplant six months ago and she told WCCO she wants to help others the way people helped her.
The 31-year-old rounded up a group of helpers and set out to tie more than 1,000 scarves on trees in 21 different parks, WCCO reports. She told the station she hopes people in need will grab what they need to keep warm.
The effort started last year when Sammons and a co-worker knit some scarves and hung them around a Faribault Park, the Faribault Daily News reports. According to the paper, the scarves were snatched up so fast Sammons set a goal to leave 1,000 in 2015.
So she created a
" target="_blank">Facebook page and asked the community to help her make her goal. In less than a year, Sammons crocheted and collected 1,041 scarves. She told WCCO, that's 215 miles worth of yarn.
The project gained attention across the country. According to the Pioneer Press, a woman from Texas heard about Sammons' effort and donated 100 scarves.
Before distributing the winter gear, Sammons attached a message to each scarf: I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep warm!
"It's a way I can comfort homeless people in their time of need just like God comforted me during my situation," Sammons told WCCO.
From the heart
The Pioneer Press says Sammons was born with a heart defect. In 2009, she suffered heart failure and had a heart transplant in June, according to the paper.
The paper spoke to her husband, Dustin Sammons, who says crocheting helped his wife recover.
There's a GoFundMe page to help Sammons pay off her medical bills. According to the page, her husband also has health problems – he has spinal muscular atrophy and cannot walk.
Cure SMA says it's a disease that affects motor nerve cells in the spinal cord and can take away a person's ability to walk, eat or even breathe.
Amherst Wilder Foundation says more than 10,000 Minnesotans were homeless in 2012.