The Giving Tree organizer Sharon Hoffman has placed a donation bin on the front porch of The Potato House for warm hats, gloves, scarves and socks for people in need of them. She will be sorting them and then hanging them in a tree in Boitanio Park. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Giving Tree organizer Sharon Hoffman has placed a donation bin on the front porch of The Potato House for warm hats, gloves, scarves and socks for people in need of them. She will be sorting them and then hanging them in a tree in Boitanio Park. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake to provide ‘warm woolies’ for those in need

Organizer Sharon Hoffman has adapted the program to COVID-19 restrictions for 2020

An annual campaign to provide free gloves, hats, scarves and socks to vulnerable people in the Williams Lake area will continue this winter with some COVID-19 restrictions in place.

“Our community has been great at supporting this, ” said The Giving Tree organizer Sharon Hoffman. “The problem this year is we are not having the Earth Friendly Event inside at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre where we normally collect the majority of the ‘winter woolies’.”

Another twist is the fact she normally puts a donation bin at the library, but due to restrictions she cannot this year.

Instead, she’s placed a tote for donations on the front porch of the Potato House on Borland Street.

“I spoke to the Potato House and they said, ‘sure.’”

Over the years people have donated 100s and 100s of items, with the majority of them normally at the Earth Friendly Event.

Read more: Giving tree shares warmth

Hoffman is hoping people will bring them to the outside scaled down event planned for 2020.

In the past she has had volunteers from the arts community, mostly potters, spinners, weavers and musicians, help her sort and bag the donations, but this year she will have to do that on her own.

“For the first weekend of December we hang everything on trees in the downtown and then over to a tree at Boitanio Park on Borland Street just behind the bus stop,” Hoffman said.

A retired teacher, Hoffman started the project in 2013.

“I’d done the yarn bombing with the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake for three years and thought it had run its course,” she said. “I felt it was time to change it into something else and someone from the BIA office put a picture on Facebook with winter woolies in town and asked who would be interested in doing this.”

Hoffman said she realized it was the perfect transition.

With the arts council she started forming the project and chose the title from the beloved children’s picture book The Giving Tree penned by Shel Silverstein.

Published in the 1960s, he story is about a boy’s relationship with a tree and how it evolves as he ages into an old man.

Read more: Spreading warmth in Williams Lake

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