With cars buzzing by and temperatures dropping, a small group of people decorated one corner of Lancaster with warmth.

They wrapped hand-knit scarves around trees and plopped them on branches on a corner of Penn Square. Then they worked their way down to Steinman Park and wrapped a statue of a man sitting on a bench and the lights above him.

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The group, called Wrap Up Lancaster, aims to give handmade scarves to those in need. In less than two months, the project has handed out about 70 scarves, leaving them at public parks and on streets, with plans to blanket more parks before spring arrives.

Perhaps even seeing a scarf-bombed corner might cheer up someone and make a difference as well.

"I used to work in social services. I know that there are a lot of homeless people in Lancaster," said Angelia Reed, who leads the project. "I thought it would be a great thing, an easy way for people to get something warm to wear."

The group takes a step beyond yarn bombing, the practice of leaving hand-knitted cozies on signs, statues and trees. Thanks to Wrap Up Lancaster, you can bundle up, and stave off the cold.

Casting on

Reed of Lancaster Township started the project in January. She read about a similar project online and decided to bring the idea to Lancaster.

First, she knit a few scarves and put them in Binns Park in the city in late January. Then she made a Facebook page and asked for helpers.

Within two weeks she had more than 60 scarves for the Penn Square scarf bombing.

She added a tag to each one: "I am not lost! If you're stuck out in the cold, take this scarf to keep warm."

Binding off

A few people showed up to help wrap up the corner and attracted the attention of passers-by.

Ian Butt and Jon Sellers, both of Lancaster, wondered what was going on.

"Why are there scarves in the tree?" Sellers asked.

"I've got my eyes on that one," Butt said, pointing out a green and orange scarf.

"While we were there, at least six of the scarves were taken," Reed said. "It was exciting."

Heather Gehron-Rice of Lancaster read about the project on Facebook showed up with five scarves she knitted.

"I had a bag of yarn that I've been meaning to donate," she said. "I thought, I might as well sit here and throw something together."

Gehron-Rice's husband works nights outdoors, so she thinks about the weather a lot. Then there's the social justice in helping those who need warm clothing.

She marveled about how quickly the project snowballed and was especially happy when a woman asked if she could take one of the scarves, which were all gone in several days.

"You get to be anonymous, but you get to see somebody receive it and be happy about it," Gehron-Rice said.

Carla Saylor isn't a knitter, but wanted to help, so she collected scarves at her business, the Mandarin Rose Spa at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.

"I'm just a helper by nature," the West Hempfield Township resident said. "I thought it was a good way to give back. I'm always amazed by the generosity in Lancaster. Here's another way to showcase some selfless things that people are doing from the heart."

Saylor's business kept an eye out for the scarves after they were put out, giving one to a man dressed like the Statue of Liberty, who works for a local tax preparation business.

"He took the white one because he thought it would look really good with his outfit, and it did," she said.

Reed is continuing to collect scarves at a growing number of drop-off points throughout the county. She's set up a GoFundMe account to hopefully reimburse knitters and crocheters for the yarn.

Holding an empty box on the latest giveaway night, surrounded by dangling scarves, Reed already was planning ahead.

"We have to think about where we want to put them next time," she said.

The next scarf bombing site will be in Musser Park on Monday, with more to come as long as temperatures stay low and scarves stay in supply.

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