The holiday season is upon us and SEPTA employees are taking this time to give back to those who are less fortunate. For the third year in a row - SEPTA employees (on their free time) are knitting, crocheting , and sewing hats, gloves, and scarves so those experiencing homelessness may feel the warmth of the holiday season throughout the frigid winter months to come.
The Warmth Project began in 2020 when master seamstress and SEPTA employee Maxine Dobbins came up with the idea of collecting extra scraps of fabric from pieces she previously created and sewing them into scarves. She then coordinated internally with those involved in the SCOPE program to put out a mass broadcast amongst all SEPTA employees looking for people who sew, crochet, or knit to create scarves, hats, and other winter items for those in need.
SEPTA’s SCOPE (Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnerships and Engagement) will be collecting hand-crafted item from employees and donating them to local shelters who assist members of the vulnerable population until the month of March.
These simple acts of kindness create opportunities to engage members of the vulnerable population on the system and create trust and dialogue that can lead those experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues to accept services and housing.
Each year employees such as Maxine Dobbins, Carolyn Otis, Leah Sessions, Nancy Granozio-Mazzuca, and many more put their skills to work to spread the warmth throughout the Philadelphia area.
The number of participants grows each year along with the number of donations. Even those who do not harvest the skills to create winter items still contributed by donating fabric, collecting items from friends and family, and/or donating funds.
SEPTA values its role as a partner and leader in finding solutions to challenges facing the communities we serve and has a long history of implementing industry-leading solutions to address homelessness on our system. In 2017 - we began working with the nonprofit Project HOME to create a new homeless engagement center known as the Hub of Hope which opened in 2018. Located in the Suburban Station Concourse and managed by Project Hope staff - the 11,000-square-foot facility offers meals, laundry services, showers, medical treatment, and case management, among other resources.
SEPTA is also working to increase public awareness of the vulnerable population’s needs and encourage everyone to be a part of the solution. If you encounter someone who is experiencing homelessness or addiction on the system - respect them as individuals and treat them with dignity. If they are in need of assistance - you can:
Call SEPTA Police at 215-580-8111
Text-a-Tip to 215-234-1911
To learn more about what SEPTA is doing to help the community it serves - click here.