There is a secret group of Westmount women keeping people warm this winter.
As the weather dipped below -10 degrees celsius, I sat in a parked SUV helping attach tags to a collection of scarves. These scarves had been handmade over the past several months by a group called “The Kindness Project.”
The tags stated “I am not lost. If you are cold and in need, please take me.” After tying on the last tag, I followed two of the group’s members into the downtown area. The plan was to conspicuously leave scarves in public for people in need to take them.
“I am not lost. If you are cold and in need, please take me.”
Donna Doherty, the organizer, was initially reluctant for me to take pictures of their good deed. She wanted it to be an act of kindness with no recognition.
Doherty was not the only one who felt this way. On my second trip to hand out scarves, project member Claire Fripp told me it was a unanimous decision. “It was all very clear that it was anonymous. Nobody wanted credit for this at all so that was part of the fun of it,” she said.
“It was all very clear that it was anonymous. Nobody wanted credit for this at all so that was part of the fun of it,” said Fripp.
The Kindness Project had been started by Doherty in January 2016 to “create a more positive social dynamic through acts of kindness,” but the knitting project was their first organized task. Fripp said she first saw the anonymous scarf idea online in the spring and thought it would be a good initiative for the group.
Interested members met up in May to determine the plan, and spent the summer months knitting and recruiting friends and family to join them. There were a total of 19 members at the base of the project.
“Create a more positive social dynamic through acts of kindness.”
Doherty said she loved the variety of scarves she received. “All different kinds, different widths, different lengths, different materials, different tassels.”
Overall, more than 130 scarves were handmade with the intention of being given to people in need. About 50 scarves were delivered to the charities Share the Warmth and the Welcome Hall Mission. The rest have been scattered around Montreal for people to take if needed. Doherty estimates they have dispersed over 80 scarves across the city so far.
The Kindness Project plans to continue spreading warmth next year.