There are many interesting ways to contribute to the Gathering. One of the most interesting recent contributions came from Darrel Bybee. Darrel became involved with the Gathering through his church, Our Lords United Methodist Church. Through Our Lord’s, Darrel has volunteered at the Gathering’s meal programs at least fifty times in the past fifteen years. In addition to volunteering and monthly financial contributions, Darrel has also been donating countless hats to the Gathering’s guests from his vast collection. He began collecting hats in 1977 and now has over 3500 hats. Over time, the collection has changed and grown immensely. Darrel explains that early on, a few of the hats were “road kills”—hats that were literally found on the side of the road. In the past thirty five years, Darrel has purchased only four or five hats at rummage sales. The vast majority of Darrel’s hats have been given to him.
With such a beautiful collection, why would he give it away?
“The collection has gotten so big I can no longer display all of them. What a better way to display them then by giving them to the Gathering’s guests and have them wear and display the hats?”
Darrel has already donated over 500 hats to the Gathering’s guests and will continue to donate. He explains, “I have really had a ball with the collection and am so glad it can bring happiness to others now.”
The hats have indeed brought happiness to the Gathering’s guests and Darrel is proud to be able to provide this gift. Sharing his hat collection is about more than just keeping heads warm—it is about acknowledging the individuality of The Gathering’s guests and sharing his love. As Darrel puts it, “Every hat has a unique story and now the story just keeps going.”