Bright, handmade hats of many colors line a fence this week along the Animas River Trail near downtown Durango in case a homeless resident is in need.
Signs posted with hats at White Rabbit Books & Curiosities announce: “Need a hat to keep you warm? Take one!” and “Made with love by Momma D.”
Momma D, or Donna Kimmel of Oklahoma, started crocheting the hats about five years ago. She was inspired to make the hats after hearing from her daughter-in-law and the owner of White Rabbit, Keena Kimmel, about a homeless woman in her 20s who was freezing in the cold weather around Valentine’s Day.
“I don’t even think about it. It’s just that’s what you do – give to others,” Donna Kimmel said.
Kimmel made 10 hats for Keena Kimmel to give away at the bookshop the first year in 2014, and every year since, she has made more for Durango homeless residents around the holidays. Each hat is different and requires between one to three hours to make, she said.
On one Christmas Eve, a homeless man came into White Rabbit and told Keena one of Donna’s hats was his Christmas gift, Donna Kimmel said.
This year, Kimmel has sent 83 hats to White Rabbit, including 12 made by her friend. Her goal is to send 100 total to Durango before Christmas.
After Christmas, Kimmel makes hats for the homeless residents in Oklahoma City, which has a much larger population of homeless residents.
As homelessness increases around the country, Kimmel said she would like everyone to take time to be kind to one person in need.
“It can be just giving them a smile,” Kimmel said.