Scarf bombing and other unique ways to help others

Photo by Flora Westbrook on

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others


Frigid, cold weather conditions have settled in for the long haul this winter in the Canadian prairies. While many of us take for granted the warmth, safety, and security of our homes, there are many individuals in our communities who do not share this reality. Helping organizations like shelters, food banks, and outreach programs are challenged by funding constraints at the best of times, but have become sidelined by a myriad of competing societal concerns.

A recent article in our local newspaper included photographs of warm, homemade, wool scarves tied around the trees in on our downtown parks. This organic Canadian practice known as scarf bombing began in 2016 as a way to provide warm articles of winter clothing to people living in shelters or couch surfing. Intended to surface the serious challenges of being homeless in a harsh cold climate, these scarf bombing events signal the need for all of us to rally and find ways to provide support to others who need it.

Food security issues, safe harm reduction programs, and homelessness have never garnered wholesale community support. But during these difficult times, it seems as though our ability to care for the most marginalized members of society has taken a backseat to caring for ourselves and our immediate families. As we debate the value of lockdowns vs. keeping parts of the economy open, and whether or not we should follow the directions of public health officials, there is even less empathy within our society for those who have long been existing on the fringes.

Our best way forward through difficult times is finding ways to be intentional and creative in how we care for those in greater need than we are. Whether its picking up a pair of knitting needles, placing canned goods in little boxes on the street corner, or calling a non-profit to find out what they need, it’s worthwhile to find out how you might be able to help. Any act of volunteerism has the potential to make a real difference in someone else’s life as well has having the amazing side effect of helping us to feel better.

We don’t have to look very far to see need, it is swirling all around us. If we can gain momentum in caring for ourselves as well as others, perhaps collectively we can replace the negative rhetoric that is taking space in our lives with something much more meaningful and positive. So whether or not we choose to scarf bomb, donate canned goods, or write kind messages for seniors isolated in a care home, it’s possible to help ourselves become stronger by helping others.

Stay healthy and safe!

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