AKRON, Ohio — Summit County couple Duane Hellier and LeeAnn McMillian found a warm way to help their community ahead of this upcoming winter.
“It feels good to know that there are people that are warm. That’s the basic of it. That’s what this is about, to keep them warm going through the winter. So if they’re using it, it serves its purpose,” said Hellier.
In the season of giving, they decided to set up a “warmth tree” outside of their home.
“So we just wanted to make sure that our community had a place to go, without judgement, if they needed a warm pair of fuzzy socks or brightly-colored gloves or a scarf and a hat,” said McMillian.
McMillian’s friend tagged her in a photo about a similar concept, which inspired her and Hellier to give back to their community.
“Everything that would accommodate both men and females of all sizes. We have Thermex heat socks for men. We have blue scarves, we have bright colored socks for girls, all ages, both men and women,” she said.
The couple encourages people to stop by and pick out winter clothing items. While there, they can also bring a letter to drop off for Santa before Christmas.
“Santa Claus does get the letter and Santa Claus will mail back the letter to you,” she said. “It shows that it is right from the North Pole. So it is verified, and there is even a really cool, red-stamped wax seal on the back of the envelope and Santa signs every letter himself and each letter from Santa is personalized.”
McMillian said the tree is expected to be up through the winter season.
The warmth tree is located at 3150 Oakwood Dr. in Cuyahoga Falls.