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HARVARD — Harvard Girl Scouts of all ages are putting out the call for new mittens, hats and scarves to benefit Loaves & Fishes this weekend, in time for them to deliver their collection to the Devens pantry.

The adorning of a Christmas tree in the Children’s Room at the Library is a long-running Scout custom in Harvard. Children’s’ Librarian Abby Kingsbury says she sees many children and parents visiting with gloves and mittens on an annual basis, “it’s a yearly tradition.” The tree is perched atop a bookshelf, immediately welcoming visitors to the Children’s Room. While some make their mitten deliveries during weekly story time visits, “others make a special trip” to add to the tree, said Kingsbury.

Liz Hawks is the Girl Scout Service unit manager for the town, helping coordinate between the 15 Daisy (kindergarten and 1st grade), Brownie (2nd and 3rd grade) and Girl Scout (4th grade and up) troops in town.

Hawks said she has been helping coordinate the clothing drive since 1994 and the program had begun at least three to four years before that.

“The tree was passed onto me by previous leaders,” she said. And it’s been a great success ever since.

Last year, 82 pairs of mittens, 22 hats and 4 scarves were collected. Some were handmade, many were store bought. Some fit children, while others fit adults.

The different troops rally for the mitten drive in different ways. “A troop of older girls sewed mittens out of fleece so they got to do a badge activity along the way,” said Hawks, “It’s one of those things that the older girls know is coming along every year.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Scouts came to hang more mittens to the tree, which will come down Saturday. All the accessories will then be bundled and delivered to Loaves & Fishes on Barnum Road in Devens in time for their annual “Shop for Your Kids Day” which is set for this Monday, Dec. 14 at Rogers Field on Devens. Children serviced by the pantry will partake in “Shop for Your Parents Day” day, set for tomorrow, Dec. 12.

The Loaves & Fishes pantry serves families in Harvard, Ayer, Shirley, Devens, Groton and Littleton. As always, food and clothing donations are accepted at Loaves and Fishes directly thereafter. Visit

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