'Scarf Bombing' tradition continues Saturday

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Considering the colder temperatures this week, the timing may be nearly perfect for Talk Tillsonburg’s annual Scarf Day in Tillsonburg on Saturday.

Volunteers will be leaving scarves, toques, mittens and some children’s winter wear in front of The Tillsonburg Town Centre mall, 200 Broadway, on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 a.m., each with the same message attached. “If you are cold, I am warm! Take me down and take me home!”

It will be the sixth ‘Scarf Bombing’ in Tillsonburg, a tradition started five years ago by Talk Tillsonburg’s Cathy Ryan and friends. Most of the items were donated, including some handmade, but some were also purchased through fundraising efforts for the event.

Nicole Tait will be coordinating the volunteers Saturday.

“She (Tait) has been there every year with her son, she’s the one who is taking charge. I have to deliver everything tonight (Thursday),” said Ryan. “I’d say there’s probably 50-plus items. Heather Cnockaert brought me two boxes and a bag of stuff they collected at Sobeys. Melissa Justus donated a huge suitcase full of items. And I bought stuff from the fundraising money (including 10-12 baby hats). And a few other people donated – I’m picking up another set tonight. It’s a lot of handmade hats and scarves. I’d say there’s enough to fill a couple hampers.”


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Snow squalls hit some areas of southern Ontario Wednesday and continued Thursday as frigid air moved into the region. While it could be milder next week, Tillsonburg’s Saturday and Sunday highs are expected to be -5 C and -4 C according to The Weather Network, falling to -9 and -11 C overnight.

The event was pushed back a few weeks this year for two reasons – mild weather in December, and a need for more donations.

“I wanted to make sure we had lots to give out, like we did every year,” said Ryan, “and I think we reached that point. There’s a fair amount of stuff. It’s cold now, which is a bonus.

“Being our fifth year, and the sixth time we’ve done it, when people see the stuff up they know what it is now. They basically know it’s ‘the Scarf Bombing’ again.”

The idea for it came from seeing it happen in Woodstock or Brantford, said Ryan.

“I saw them do it and thought, ‘that’s fantastic, we should do that. Why not? Our community can do that.’ And luckily it’s been a success every year. We do it in the same spot every year and the mall has always been cooperative.”

People of all ages have been taking the hats, mitts and scarves.

“People aren’t afraid to grab them,” Ryan smiled. “That’s what they are there for, that’s what it’s for. Help yourself. That’s why we put it there, we want them to take stuff and use it. And it’s always nice stuff.

“It’s cold, grab it and use it! That’s what it’s for.”


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