Family Creates 'Blessing Fence' to Help Keep Others Warm in the Winter


This is the initiative's third year.

It is better to give than to receive.

One Indiana family knows the true meaning of the phrase after establishing a “blessing fence” to give winter attire to people in their neighborhood who need it.

The fence, which is in front of their Goshen home, is typically filled with scarves, hats, coats, and even winter boots. 

“This is the third year,” Lynda Salisbury, who started the initiative, told “I was on Facebook and saw a city that was hanging scarves on the trees in their park for homeless people. I thought, ‘Well I wonder if we could do this in our neighborhood because we live in an economically diverse area of town.'"

Salisbury posted a status on her page asking people for scarves and gloves to put out on her fence. 
“I had people respond and so we hung items. People walk by on the sidewalk and they are able to take what they need or want,” Salisbury said. 

The idea took off from there and once Salisbury realized items were quickly disappearing, she kept restocking the fence.

“People would just show up and the items would be gone. I don’t keep track. It’s anonymous giving for anonymous receivers,” she said. 

The fence started out with a cardboard sign, but has since been replaced with a wooden one that reads: “Take what you need… leave the rest. May you always feel warm, cozy and blessed!”

Salisbury said she, her 7-year-old daughter Olivia, and her husband, Scott, mostly manage the fence but this year the community began laying goods on it early.

“I usually put the sign out in January and February, but this year it was the second to last week of October and I walked out to get my mail and the fence was full of items,” Salisbury said. “I thought, ‘This is kind of early’ and then the next afternoon when I went to store the items until winter, they were gone.”

The mom then began putting other things out. She said her family does it because it brings them joy. 

“We have a need in the community where these hardworking people are making it paycheck-to-paycheck. If we can give something to help them get through the winter, it’s beneficial for them, but for the giver, it’s a blessing also,” Salisbury said. 

The family often talks with the people walking by the fence so they can hear their personal stories.

“We had one man give coats from his deceased brother, but it’s nice to know that those coats are going to keep somebody warm, and to know that his brother will live on through giving,” Salisbury said. “We need a reason to feel good this year and giving is a way to do that.”