Warming up on Broadway

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The message read 'If you are cold, I am warm. Take me down and take me home.'

It was the open invitation Saturday to take down a scarf, toque or pair of mittens and take it home courtesy of Talk Tillsonburg's fifth 'Scarf Bomb' (4th annual) on Broadway in front of The Town Centre mall.

Another sign read, 'If you are cold, there may be a hat in here to keep you warm. Pick one out and take it home.'

"We have so many hats," said Catherine Ryan, organizer of the scarf day, pointing to the container shef left on a bench. "I did this another year... I just leave the bucket of hats there and people are welcome to pick out any hat that they want. Some of them are little hats, it's easier that way than trying to tag and hang them.

"And there's a lot more scarves this year. There are not as many gloves."

Preparation for the scarf day began weeks, if not months, in advance.

"What we do is collect scarves, hats, mitts, children's snowsuits, and we tag them with a sign. It gives people who are out here, and they're cold and they don't have a scarf, hat or mitts, they are welcome to take these down. And they are there's to keep. It's just a fun way to distribute warmth in the community, that's basically what we aim for.

"We had a bunch of donations this year - Sobeys put a basket out this year and collected donations, that really helped, I picked up quite a bit the other day. The Senior Centre did their donations for us too. The rest came from the community."

Ryan estimated nearly 100 scarves, hats and mitts had been hung on the fences surrounding the cenotaph at 200 Broadway.

Most Tillsonburg Scarf Bomb days have been in January, but Ryan felt the need to bump it into December.

"Come January, February, it's cold, yes. But it's already cold in December. People already need to have hats, scarves and mitts in December. Yes, it's been warm this last week, but it's going to get really cold. This way it's distributed ahead of time, and it saves from coming out on a cold January morning and freezing in the snow," she added with a laugh.

A December day was also appealing, she said, because it almost guarantees clothing will stay dry.

"It's a beautiful day, and it's still cold. Stuff usually doesn't last long, it goes quite quickly. We've never had a problem with anything being left over and not taken."

Ryan stressed the toques, scarves and mitts could be taken home by anyone.

"If they're out here on a work break, and think,' oh, I like that and I need a scarf...' Help yourselves, it's for anybody who wants it.

"All the stuff is in great condition, we check over everything ahead of time. Everything is in good condition. And there's a lot of handmade items out here too from the Senior Centre. Last year they donated handmade sweaters, this year it's hats and scarves."

Ryan was joined Saturday morning by volunteers Nicole Tait with her son Caden, both at their third Scarf Bomb, Melissa Justus, and Tuesday Hughes. 

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