Collection centers now open for Chase the Chill donations

Ann Leach (center) shares her strategy for distribution of more than 1,000 hats, scarves and gloves as part of the Chase the Chill program last year as volunteers Brandy Duley (left) and Kathy Mason tag items with messages of love. Duley and Mason were two of the seven Freeman Health System volunteers who helped collect, organize and tag the items.Globe file

Collection stations for this year’s Chase the Chill event are up and running in various spots throughout Joplin.

Between now and Dec. 9, hundreds of winter scarves, mittens, hats, gloves and other donated items can be dropped off at the following locations:

• Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St.

• Freeman Hospital, at the welcome desk next to the ER, 1102 W. 32nd St.

• Homewood Suites by Hilton, 2642 E. 32nd St.

• Unity of Joplin church, 204 N. Jackson Ave.

• Missouri Southern State University, 3950 Newman Road. There will be several stations around campus.

The scarves will then be distributed throughout Joplin, at more than 100 locations, on Saturday, Dec. 14.

“Seeing this event grow each year has been a great blessing,” said Ann Leach, who introduced Chase the Chill to Joplin in 2015. “For me, it’s about the purest form of giving there can be: giving without attachment and giving from the desire to help. Those things in combination make for a successful project.”

Last year, more than 1,000 winter accessories — 646 scarves, 479 hats and 96 pairs of gloves — were distributed at places such as Watered Gardens, Spiva Park and along Main Street by a small army of volunteers in early December. Each scarf is tagged with an invitation for anyone to claim ownership, free and without fuss, regardless of income and without any qualifications.

“When I look at how this event has evolved over the years, there’s one thing that really sticks out for me,” Leach said, “and that is that we’ve stayed true to the original intent of the experience: no requirements to qualify to take a scarf, no expectations of how they’ll be received, and no pressure to make it better and better with various goals to hit. This is an event that really manages itself in its simplicity, and yet, I think it is one that has a bigger impact as a result.”

Recommended for you