The Guess Foundation is hosting the 4th Annual Scarf in the Park on Christmas Eve. Paducah’s homeless and families in need may begin selecting hats, scarves, gloves, and socks at 2 pm at Dolly McNutt Plaza (across from City Hall). Handwritten notes will be pinned to each item and will remain up on Christmas Day or until all items are gone.
“We know there are people in our community who will have nowhere to go on Christmas Eve,” said 17-year-old Guess Foundation founder Morgan Guess. “We also know they will be cold, and likely sad and lonely. When we thought about hosting this project, we thought Christmas Eve would be the best night to show them that they are seen and cared about. No one should go without a present, and we believe no one should be cold. We want this project to give those with the most need in our community a way to stay warm and to give them hope.”
The Guesses collected 2,300 items in 2019 but have not been able to host collection points this year. Women from the McCracken County Jail knitted several hundred hats and scarves last year but were also not able to gather to create them because of the pandemic.
“We purchased 500 hats, gloves and scarves at the end of the winter season,” said Susan Guess. “Paducah Bank, The Dirt Road, and WellSprings Institute have donated additional items, but more will be needed. We especially need men’s gloves and socks.”
The event will be organized a bit differently this year. Volunteers will be required to wear masks and gloves and will be encouraged to bring and hang their own items. The clotheslines will be hung by 1 pm and clothespins will be available. Masks and gloves will be available if needed. Hand sanitizer stations will also be set up.
“The needs will be greater than they have ever been,” said Susan. “Each of us, as friends and neighbors, should continuously look for even small ways we can reach out to those in need at this time of year and all through the year.”
“We believe this event has become a treasured tradition in our community,” said Morgan. “My family and I also believe that Christmas is truly about giving, and this is a meaningful and memorable way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
The Guesses also host Scarf in the Park as a way to honor the grandfather Morgan never got to meet. Susan’s father, Paul Shaffer, died at Lourdes Hospital on Christmas Eve in 1989 from cancer. Four-day-old Morgan would leave that same hospital on Christmas Eve 31 years later.
“Christmas is a bittersweet time for our family and I can think of no better way to honor my dad than through a beautiful transfer of simple gifts to people in need,” said Susan. “This annual celebration also gives Morgan a chance to feel close to him and to see how the legacy of giving can transfer from generation to generation.”