Another Homeless Hat Hunting Season Comes to a Close


This photo was taken on April 23. 2017 at 6:10 AM.

The location was in my make shift* photo studio at my home in Bethesda, Maryland.

The "Take It!"  came from the dwindling of catches of knit hats found in the streets as I make my way around the metropolitan area of Washington DC. This is of course due to the change of season to warmer weather found in what we are having as sort of a fits and starts to our Spring. I must quickly note, that the hunt is year round, this is merely the end of the season of most probability.

This year the yield was high for hats as there were 15. Scarves were surprisingly low with only one.  This year I started to pick up gloves, starting with one pair (in the future I will pick up single gloves as there is an organization that collects all gloves, cleans them, matches them by size only, and gives the mismatched gloves to the poor who are happy to have something to cover their bare hands and help keep them warm in the winter).

As for what I do with all the items: I first pick them up even though they may be wet from having been in the street for a while, and bring them home. I then wash them in my washing machine using a mixture of Simple Green, and strong laundry detergent that has a decent aroma. I then hang the hats up to air dry in my basement laundry. I then add them to the catch of the season. The next winter at Christmas time, I take most of them to a Homeless shelter for distribution. I keep some of the cooler looking ones and have given some of them out as gifts.

The After Take: I have been doing this for about 4 years, and even though I may be viewed as being a bit odd when I am picking up the hats, I really do not care. The sense of satisfaction I derive from the whole process is great. It is in a small way, helping to make a better place.

I am going to close by encouraging others to take up the hunt. It becomes a game. One gets adept at spotting these formerly worthless bits of loss to others as they lay in the street or sidewalk, often wet, and there for days. Many times I will pass by a potential catch on several subsequent days before being able to get a sense of it really being a hat or other eligible game. Some are recognizable immediately. I carry gallon sized zip lock bags in the car, to put the items in, should the conditions warrent it. I have taken up the practice of washing my hands more frequently as I play this game, and as a result, have not found myself catching any whooping anything other than satisfaction, lol. I must say it took me a while to be able to be able to tell others about my being a Hunter of this sort, as it is at times a little icky, but in time, one gets over that, with the knowledge that when there is a cold day, someone out there has a warmer head through your efforts. 

Life is ever so good,


PS: There are all sorts of ponders available as a part of the hunt. One can spend a little time on imagining what type of person would have been the former owner of the hat,  how and when they lost it, and why the decision to not go back and either pick it up, or find it. How long it took the former owner to replace the hat, that is if they had it as an only. How long they mourned the loss of the hat, especially if it had been a hand knit gift, or a commemorative hat. Sports team hats are most usually replaceable, but others, flat out, are not.  I have come to the conclusion that a Happy Hat, is when it is out there doing its job. I guess one might even say when so engaged, it is in Hat Heaven. When I pass by hats on display, in a store, I can almost hear them yelling, "let me out of here" as they are ever so ready to get out there, and bring Happy Head to who ever has taken them on for the ride. 

* Some day I would like to find out the origin of the term "make shift." It does not conjure, enduring, thus rarely eligible for endearing, but none the less, is often a perfect description.

Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1

    Jim (Thursday, 29 June 2017 17:56)

    You found 15 caps!? Wow, that is incredible.

  • #2

    Sally (Thursday, 29 June 2017 17:57)

    I think its just awesome of you to take them to the homeless shelter. It is kind acts like that, that this world really needs.

  • #3

    Livin4love (Thursday, 29 June 2017)

    How nice of you to clean them up and give them away. Now that's what I call "Livin4love." Ha ha ha!

  • #4

    Teri (Thursday, 29 June 2017 17:59)

    I'm kind of a germaphobe so I don't think I could pick them up.

  • #5

    MHampy (Thursday, 29 June 2017 18:02)

    We had a great discussion at our lunch about this one. We are discussing ways we could try and get our students involved in something like this, collect them all into our class rooms and do what you do at the end of the school year and donate them. Give the kids some extra credit or something for each article of clothing they find.

  • #6

    SF1967 (Thursday, 29 June 2017 18:04)

    I have never picked up hats or anything but I found this great 'slightly used' pair of gloves about ten years ago. Still have them to this day.

  • #7

    Gabe (Thursday, 29 June 2017 18:05)

    When you give them away as a gift do you tell the recipient you found it out in the street?