If you think you spot articles of clothing hanging from trees and poles around Lubbock, you’re not imagining things. Sunday night, a group of over 60 volunteers tied scarves, hats, and mittens outside of businesses around Lubbock. Each item was attached to a note of encouragement, welcoming anyone– whether they are homeless or just in need or warm clothing– to pick up the winter gear for free.
The group was coordinated by Restoring Hope Lubbock, a group who performs community outreach and works with Lubbock’s homeless. With permission from Lubbock businesses, they placed over 150 items around town. You may spot their efforts at each of the United Supermarkets stores, the Walmart on 4th and Q, the South Plains Mall, and the Citibus station.
“I hope that people just know that we care and want them to feel warm when it’s cold out,” said Veronica Contreras as she tied a scarf around a pole at the South Plains Mall parking lot.
Each item bears a tag that reads “I am not lost” assuring anyone who finds it that the item is free for the taking.
Restoring Hope Lubbock hosted this event again after seeing results from their efforts last year.
“It’s amazing to see somebody out of curiosity just look at the scarf that’s hanging to a tree and then they read the note and they’re like, ‘Wow’ and I see them actually put it on and leave with a smile, that’s really cool,” said Mindy Yarbrough with Restoring Hope Lubbock.
“[Last year] the next day or even that night we were receiving messages that day from our homeless friends saying, ‘I got one of y’all’s scarves’ or even people taking pictures of other people picking up scarves,” added Jeni Castillo, also of Restoring Hope Lubbock.
They finished up this night of random acts of kindness finished with a trip to Paul’s Project Grace Campus, handing out hot chocolate and undergarments to the homeless. Castillo said that while this event was intended to support anyone who needs help, she knows that the homeless are especially vulnerable during the cold Lubbock winters.
She explained that in addition to connecting with Lubbock’s homeless, she tries to use her outreach at Restoring Hope to keep homeless informed of their resources. Castillo added that cold winter nights can be especially lonely and difficult for those without a home.
“I just want to let everybody know how important it is to love each other, especially during the holidays. Holidays can be such a joyful time for a lot of people, but at the same time they can be a very sad time in a lot of people’s lives,” Castillo said. “And for you to take a moment of your time to hug somebody, to just sit with them visit them, take them to eat lunch, just anything– writing a note to someone anonymously and leaving it on their vehicle or whatever– these are the things that warm people’s hearts and especially during the holidays, it’s very important,”
Restoring Hope Lubbock will be doing more outreach work over the holidays and throughout the year. If you would like to get involved, send them a message on their Facebook page.