Lynda Salisbury and The Blessing Fence • The Good of Goshen

Lynda Salisbury (pictured with daughter Olivia)

The Blessing Fence

January and February of 2015, that was a bad winter. Like 20 below. We had a lot of time in the house, and so I noticed people walking down the sidewalk. I saw that there were several people with full sweaters on and just the minimal to keep warm. 

One day I was on the computer, more than likely Facebook. A pop-up from a larger city came on, and it was about how people in this city were hanging scarves around their park trees for the homeless. And I just felt this calling that was, ‘Hey, you can hang a scarf on your fence.’…So I kind of made this conscious connection with God, the universe, that I would do this.

I had this feeling that I needed to do it. So I just put it on my personal page for my friends: ‘Hey, does anybody have any scarves or gloves? Let’s test this out.’ And they wanted to do it. People just dropped off a few things and we hung them up. I put up a cardboard sign that said, ‘Free. Take it if you need it,’ or something like that. Very simple. And it started going. People started taking them. So then I would request more, and it just built and built and built very quickly.

I made the Blessing Fence Facebook page a public page, and we started getting hits from all over the country. ‘Good Morning America’ did a segment on us. Other social media companies started contacting me. We’ve gotten donations from all over the country – Tennessee, California, Las Vegas, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia. Just all over. But our biggest donations come from this Goshen community. The community really keeps it going and sustains it.

We don’t keep track of who’s giving. We don’t keep track of who’s receiving. If you have it, give it, say your blessing over it, and the person who needs it is going to come, and they’re going to pick it up and take it.

When I was a child, like up to probably 12 or 13 years old, my family was very poor. Our church we were at that time would donate clothing for me and my brothers. As poor as we were financially, we never went without anything that we needed. And that was from the church and friends and neighbors who would help us during that time. That’s what made me comfortable with the idea of putting something on my fence or giving something away.

“We do have people who give shoes and stuff, like winter boots. It’s also nice to have some blankets and boots and everything they put out. Shoes are another big thing that you need.”

-Olivia, daughter

The Blessing Fence

Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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