NORTH ANDOVER ֱ A lot of elements go into decorating a Christmas tree. There are the lights, the garland, the tinsel, the ornaments and more.

Some decorations show heritage and other personal styles.

The North Andover Town Hall tree, however, is decorated a bit differently, with clothing instead of ornaments.

The ֱmitten treeֱ is located in the lobby of the Town Hall, at 120 Main St. Residents are encouraged to replace a candy cane with a new hat, scarf or a pair of gloves or mittens, in hopes of keeping all North Andover children warm this holiday season.

ֱIt really has been warmly received by the Youth Center, the schools and the community overall,ֱ Warren said.

All items will be donated to the North Andover Public Schools and the North Andover Youth and Recreation Services for local children in need, according to Town Clerk Dawne Warren.

The items, however, do not need to necessarily be going to children who cannot afford the hats or mittens.

ֱSometimes itֱs as easy as someone forgetting,ֱ Warren said, noting that if a student does not remember their own outdoor garments, they can receive some from the school.

As the tree fills throughout the month, Warren will start to ֱsend them outֱ to the schools and youth center. She said the nurse at the high school is the one who will dole out the items throughout the school district.

Each child that receives an item supports not only themselves but also their families overall, in cases where they cannot afford new hats, scarves, or mittens.

In North Andover, 7.2% of the residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. census data. The rate in Essex County is higher, with 9.9% of people living below the poverty line. When looking at children specifically, the rate rises to 10% of those under 18 in North Andover living below the poverty line.

ֱItֱs a wonderful way to give back to the community,ֱ Warren said. ֱItֱs beyond the children, itֱs helping the families too.ֱ

The tree went up on the 28th and it will stay, accepting donations, until Dec. 29.

Items can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday as well as until 6 p.m. on Tuesday and to noon on Friday.

Follow Monica on Twitter at @MonicaSager3

Follow Monica on Twitter at @MonicaSager3

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