Davenport students ‘chase the chill’


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Confirmation students from Our Lady of Victory Parish and John F. Kennedy Catholic School have established a tradition of making and tying scarves to light poles for the homeless and less fortunate.

Anne Marie Amacher
Scarves made by confirmation students at John F. Kennedy Catholic School and Our Lady of Victory Parish hang from trees as well as light posts and other places in Davenport.

Lisa Willows, the parish’s catechetical ministry assistant/confirmation coordinator, said last year was the first year the confirmation students participated in the Chase the Chill project. “It was a huge success.”

Founded in Pennsylvania in 2008, the project “celebrates the art and beauty of knitting and crocheting, building community, generating positive interest in a location, and sharing with others,” according to the Chase the Chill website.


In December, the students began learning how to crochet scarves. In addition, scarves were collected from parishioners. “I tried to make one. I think I got two loops done,” said JFK eighth-grader Parker Foley. “I started twice,” added Adam Burke.

Fellow classmates Ryan Logan, Maggie Overturf, Nadia Renkoski and Meadowe Cislo said they weren’t familiar with the project until it was introduced in their class. They thought it was a good, simple idea to help others. While no one successfully completed a scarf, the students said it was an interesting opportunity to attempt to learn to crochet. Ryan said it felt good to help the homeless and others in need through this project.

Classmates Chase Jordan, Danny Scordato, James Wichelmann, Kenzie Tronnes, Hope Fadiga, Jacob Daniel and Zayle Snell helped with distribution of the scarves. Danny said although it was frustrating to try to make a scarf, he felt the project was helping students to make a difference. “It’s a good idea.”
Hope said she would definitely do the project again if asked.

On Jan. 21 the confirmands walked along the Davenport riverfront and tied around 200 scarves to benches, light poles, trees and other objects. Each scarf had a note attached that read: “I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep you warm!”

Willows worked with the City of Davenport, its parks and recreation department, and Downtown Davenport Association to get permission to place the scarves along the riverfront and to ensure they would not be removed by city representatives for two weeks.

In addition to scarves, some gloves and hats also were donated and tied to trees and poles.

After two weeks, Willows said, the scarves will be removed, washed and distributed to homeless shelters. On Facebook Willows noted she had heard a lot of positive feedback from people in the community about the project.

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