When I started this project in 2016, I never could have imagined how much it would expand in just a year. I had no idea what I was in for! There were about fifty people who donated scarves for the first install, and we hung those up with six volunteers.
Last year, by the day of the Install, just shy of 950 people were RSVP’d as “going”, and 5.6 thousand were “interested” in going.
The day of the install, there were two blocks jammed full of over a hundred people who showed up to donate their goods and time.
There were at least 2,118 scarves on that fence that day. We also had 827 hats, 251 pairs of gloves, and a number more of coats, socks, ear warmers, and other accessories. So total in terms of winter gear, we’re looking at 3,196 donations.
I was inspired by a small church fence I saw a picture of in Oregon who left winter gear out for homeless people to take back in 2016, so I started the Scarf Abandonment Project in Baltimore (January 2017 and then again in January 2018).
The idea is people can donate scarves (handmade, store-bought, previously owned) from anywhere in the world. If possible, the person donating will also add a tag with a positive message on it and clip it to the scarf (but if they don't, I make sure they get tags). I think the tags add a personal touch.
I collect all the scarves over a few months, then on one day I meet volunteers at a fence where we leave the scarves hanging for those in need to take. This is the guerrilla art aspect of the project. We do not monitor the fence. Whoever is in need that day can take a scarf, or whatever other winter gear is offered.
Here's the thing. I love doing this project, but it grew so much last year that it consumed my life for multiple months. I run my own business, and I was spending all my hours working on this project instead of being able to work on my business, make money, and pay my bills. I'm super happy with how it exploded in popularity, but the reality is with where I'm at in my life that there is no way that I can do the 3rd Annual Scarf Abandonment Project without funding... and I really want to do it.
I looked into grants and a lot of them require you to be a non-profit, which I am not. I asked my friends on Facebook, and a lot of them said that I might just have the best luck with crowdsourcing the money because so many people were interested in the project. I'm hoping that's the case, and I'm crossing my fingers and going to try it out.
The money is going towards me being able to:
I can't tell you how grateful I'll be if I'm able to meet this goal. It's a really cool project that benefits the community in a lot of ways. It brings people together, promotes kindness, and helps keep people warm! I wish I could fund this one myself, but it's just gotten out of my reach! Thank you for every single dollar you can spare to this cause.
Q: If you don't make your money goal, will you still host the event? A: By the end of September, I will assess how much I've raised and if it's reasonably enough to move forward. If it's close enough, I'll deal and do it.
Q: If you decide not to do it will you give back the money? A: Yes.
Q: Do I get anything for donating? A: Not really, unfortnately. I'm doing a Go Fund Me, not a Kickstarter so there aren't really rewards. But please know that I genuinely appreciate every single dollar that you can spare towards this project because it helps those in need in Baltimore.
Q: Is there an event page for the 3rd Annual Scarf Abandonment Project yet? A: No, because I haven't raised the funds and been able to decide that I can officially do it yet. As soon as I raise the money and/or decide that I can do it, I will create the page.
Q: If you don't do the event, can I? A: Anyone is allowed to do whatever they want. I'm seriously warning you that it's a lot of work.
Q: Where can I see last year's event write up? A: Right here!
My name is Mary, and I believe my purpose on this planet is to bring happiness to other people. I've struggled with mental illness since I was eight-years-old, and lived in a dark place for a very long time, but made it through to the other side where I landed on a pile of glitter. I quit my day job at a psychiatric rehabilitation center to focus on the things I love the most in this world, and over time I've created a space on the internet that I try to use to empower people like you to live your life loudly, the way you want, without letting others influence you one way or the other. I want to remind you what it's like to play out in the street with the wonder of a child. I want to take your hand, and tell you sincerely that you are beautiful. I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I have a cat named Bug, a boyfriend named Joe, and a sincere passion for balloons, handwritten letters, and all things sparkly.