Cold weather gear left in park for those in need

Jan. 21—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — For about a decade the relief society from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Johnstown has visited Central Park and left everything from hats, gloves and scarves to now wool socks and infant items for those in need to grab.

On Saturday, the members continued the long-standing tradition by stringing bags full of cold weather gear across the benches in the city's green space where anyone can stop and take what they need.

"Our motto is 'Charity never faileth,'" Relief Society of Johnstown board President Sherri Taylor said.

She and several volunteers roamed the park placing the bags and talking to those who stopped to inquire what was going on or to take a bag.

"We love doing this," Taylor said.

The relief society had close to 100 bags to place on Saturday.

Many of the items left are handmade by the members of the group, such as hats and scarves.

There were also homemade afghans available.

"A lot of love and care was put into each one of these," Taylor said.

She added that there were several other churches that donated goods to the cause.

Susan Wingard, who's helped since the inception of the tradition, was glad to continue lending a hand and impacting those in need.

"Times are tough," she said. "Now more than ever it's more rewarding to do this."

The relief society is one of the oldest organizations aimed at helping women and dates back to 1842.

Taylor said the group's mission is to uplift and serve those in need.

"We love Johnstown and love the people and just want to make sure everyone's warm," she said.

The bags of cold weather gear will be in the park as long as the goods last.

Daily, members of the society will visit the area to clean up the twine, bags and the like in order to keep the park clean.