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The various weather sites said it was about 40 degrees out, but the wind cutting through Continental Square in the middle of York City made it feel much colder.

In spite of the chill, pedestrians were still out around the area; some walking to Central Market a block northwest, others with business around the courthouse just north — but some because they didn't have much elsewhere to go.

It's for them in particular the ladies of a few York City churches made the scarves that hung tied to trees, posts, signs and meters Thursday morning.

Some of the maybe three dozen members of the Stitches of the Heart group made the scarves, said Treva Andrews, one of the organizers of the group, which knits and crochets clothing, quilts and other items for local charities.

The Springettsbury Township woman is a member of Calvary United Methodist Church; the women of the group for the most part are members of that congregation and the neighboring St. Matthew's Lutheran and St. Rose of Lima churches. The group coalesced in May and meets a couple times a month.

It started off because they wanted to do charitable work that stayed in the local community. They wanted to benefit directly the people who are struggling around the York area.

"There are so many people in need around here," she said.

They've knitted items for the Access-York domestic violence shelter, homeless veterans, New Hope for Girls and other organizations, she said.

Shortly before noon, Andrew Geier, perched at the top of a one-story ladder, was working away in the northwest corner of Continental Square, the intersection of Market and George streets. He's been part of the construction crews working on the 1 Marketway West building for a while now, spending plenty of time in the square.

So the sudden appearance of the scarves had been a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. He'd noticed them when he started work at 5:30 that morning.

"So they must have been out here pretty early," he said. But he had no idea who it was.

Andrews said they were out about 3 a.m., putting up the scarves. The plan wasn't even to put them in bags — they were just going to tie them up as is, but there was a chance it'd rain, so they threw them into big Ziploc bags with a note in each that said: "I am not lost. If you are cold and in need of some warmth, please take. God bless you!!" and the Bible quote "Love one another."

Standing in the parking lot of Calvary UMC at 11 N. Richland Ave. in the city's west end around noon, Andrews laughed, jokingly frustrated that the group's plot to stay anonymous to help the needy had been foiled.

"The point was to stay anonymous!" she exclaimed about why they got up so early to tie up the scarves.

By the late morning, it appeared several of the scarves had been plucked away by new owners. As was the case with Geier, people seemed to have overcome any mild puzzlement and put the offerings to use.

"I see people benefit from it, that's for sure," Geier said, smiling from his vantage point.

— Reach Sean Cotter at scotter@yorkdispatch.com.

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