(FOUNTAIN) – The giving fence is a few wood slats, held together by the Himschoot family’s caring spirit.
“We wanted to do something to give back to the community,” said Tonja Himschoot.
That was six years ago, after all five kids left for college, leaving this family with a whole bunch of gloves, hats, scarves, and mittens.
“Well, yeah when they moved out we had that left over,” Tonja continued.
And all those items were the first donations to the fence, intended to warm up anybody and everybody.
“We had promised to provide items from the first snowflake to the last,” she went on.
This family simply has one hope, “I hope they come away knowing that people still care and give. And that we don’t require you to need somthing to come and get something.”
The family shops all year to stock it through the holidays.
“When we start the year, we count the items that we have on hand, last year it was a thousand. That wasn’t counting the items people had dropped off or put on the fence.
Since its start, the fence has grown in size and in hearts
“It’s a give and take. It’s turned into something bigger than we thought. You leave some days and it’s empty and then come back and it’s full.”
Now it’s not just a place to come and get warm, but also a place to connect.
“My husband calls it our rainbow. It changes shape and size, it comes and goes. We love it and I think it will be somehting just he and I will do now so our kids can watch. They are spread across the states, they keep up with us that way.”