Community members are encouraged to drop off warm winter items at this Mitten Tree located in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in New Philadelphia to have them donated to the homeless. (Tusco TV)

NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Holiday Inn Express and Suites is decorating for a good cause this holiday season.

The local hotel has a Mitten Tree set up in its front lobby to collect warm winter items for people staying at Friends of the Homeless shelter. Community members are encouraged to stop by with donations of new or gently used mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves and hang them on the tree. 

Sales Coordinator Julie Haugh says that the tree is meant to raise donations and generate awareness about an urgent need in the community.  

“The mittens, gloves, and hats as decorations really show how many people will be struggling to keep warm this winter, and how lucky many of us are for a warm place to stay and warm clothing,” she says. “Seven-hundred homeless people across the United States die from hypothermia annually. Warm clothing is not a luxury, it’s a necessity that can save lives in winter months.” 

Last year, the hotel held a Warm Clothing Drive for the Holidays. Haugh says this is the first year that the hotel has had a Mitten Tree but it’s something they hope to continue in the future. 

The Holiday Inn Express is located at 145 Bluebell Drive SW in New Philadelphia. Donations can be made until December 23rd. For more information, contact Haugh at 330-339-7731 ext. 502.