Golden Valley Nonprofit Distributes Warm Clothes, Compassion
Every year, Golden Valley nonprofit One Good Deed holds its Scarf Bombing event.
This campaign brings warm clothing to unsheltered populations in Twin Cities parks.
Donors give One Good Deed founder Michelle Christensen hundreds of bag worth of winter clothes. Volunteers help prepare the items to go out into the community.
“I find that people have this little super special nugget of kindness,” Christensen said.
The nugget Christensen speaks of shows up in small gestures, as well as large ones. Her nonprofit is dedicated to showing compassion no matter the size.
“I find that people come to One Good Deed and they have a place to put their kindness,” Christensen said. “It’s effective, it’s nurtured, it grows.”
Each Wednesday of December, volunteers gather at Christensen’s house with snacks, conversation and piles and piles of clothing to sort. Volunteers are given a list of tasks: to sort clothing items, put tags on them and then sort a variety of items into plastic bags to be donated.
Some volunteers also put together what Christensen calls “blessing bags.” They’re plastic gallon bags filled with winter essentials, including hand warmers, socks, lip balm, hand sanitizer and other necessities in the cold.
All of this work leads up to the annual Scarf Bombing.
Volunteers pile into buses and bring hundreds of bags of winter items to city parks for unsheltered people. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, Jan. 7.
Each item has a tag on it to let those who need it know its theirs to take.
“Every part of the park is flooded with hats, gloves, mittens, jackets, boots, snow pants,” Christensen said.
Expanding its reach
This year, One Good Deed is expanding its reach to four Twin Cities parks.
Two parks are in Minneapolis: Loring Park and Cedar Avenue Field. Another two are in St. Paul: Rice Park and Kellogg Park.
The nonprofit was built on the very first Scarf Bombing event seven years ago.
Since then, its only grown. Christensen remembers fondly — after the first event, volunteers asked her what was next.
“I said ‘if I do more things, will you help me?’ And they said ‘yes,’” Christensen said.
Now, volunteers take on different responsibilities to fill their goal of 500 bags.
Kathy Noll, a longtime volunteer, was on tagging duty. She showed the tags that are pinned to each item:
’Take me, I’m not lost. I’m yours,” Noll said, reading the tag left on each piece of clothing. “I love that so much.”
Noll said helping with One Good Deed is a gift that keeps on giving.
“It’s kind of a joy to help because I’ve met so many neat people,” Noll said.
One Good Deed Board Member Rachelle Rood worked to affix labels to bags. She said she’s known Christensen since high school, but this club allowed them to really get to know each other.
“Hang out with some fun people, do some good things, spread some kindness,” Rood said. “And it’s fun.”
It’s a chance for volunteers to make friends they never knew they needed. In the end, it’s a good deed tied together with camaraderie.
“We put the pebble in the pond and we create ripples of kindness,” Christensen said. “Where they go, we don’t really know. But we know it’s going somewhere.”
This year’s Scarf Bombing event will take place on Sunday, Jan. 7. You can sign up to participate on One Good Deed’s events page.
Donations are accepted until Friday, Jan. 5.
There’s also one more tag-and-bag event at Christensen’s house on Wednesday, Jan. 3. All are welcome. More details are available on One Good Deed’s events page.
Christensen said as donations flow in, volunteers are needed now more than ever.