Contagious kindness spreads in Castlegar, threatens to infect other communities
It appears Castlegar is suffering from a contagious epidemic of kindness, according to city councillor Kevin Chernoff, who posted the following on his Facebook page:
“*Castlegar Alert* Castlegar has some kind of an infectious disease. First Kindness Meters, now anonymous Kindness Scarfs left around town. Who’s next to be infected, will this ever stop?”
He was referring to a new phenomenon seen for the first time in Castlegar today (Wednesday) called Kindness Scarves (see attached photo). They’ve been found hanging from posts around town, with unsigned cards that read, “You have found a Kindness Scarf. I am not lost. If you are cold and need me, take me. All I ask is that you pay it forward to someone else someday in a random act of kindness.”
Attached to the notes are beautiful, brand new, hand-crocheted scarves.
The Source was able to track down the carrier of this contagion, the maker of the scarves, life-long area resident Lynn Hamm (wife of Oots Fire Chief George Hamm).
Why would she do such a thing? Turns out, it was arguably a hate crime.
“I hate the cold, I hate winter,” Hamm said. “I saw a thing on Facebook where people were doing it in other communities, and since our community is so tight-knit (she said the pun was unintentional) and loving …”
Hamm says she put four of them around town last night, and there are more to come.
“I’ve got some more to hang out today,” she said, adding she intends to ensure the contagion spreads to other cities as well. “And I’m going to see a specialist in Victoria, and along the way I’m going to hang some in other communities with cards that say, ‘From Castlegar, with Love’.”
She’s also working on a bunch of toques, and more.
“Hopefully, mittens,” she said. “I’ve never tried to make mittens before, though.”
She said she hopes they get taken, not just because they have monetary value, but by people who have some need.
“The idea of need can mean so many different things, it’s not just about money,” she said. “You can be having a really bad day, and just need the feeling of a hug, that someone cares. That’s need, too.”
For anyone not in need, Hamm doesn’t sell her creations at craft fairs or through a business, but she will accept custom orders via her Facebook page called, ‘Made with love by Lynn’.
“One person asked if I could make one of the scarf/hoodies that make you look like an Ewok,” she said. “People just tell me what they want and what colour, and I let them know about how long it will take me to do it – I don’t keep a surplus or anything.”
She said part of her decision to do this was that there’s so much negativity going around, especially now, it seemed a fittingly warm gesture in an often cold world.
“I think it’s just wonderful,” said city councillor Deb McIntosh, who also operates the local food bank and drop-in centre. “It just goes to show, there are a million ways to give. And I bet it gives her as much of a warm, fuzzy feeling to do it as it does the lucky recipients of her kindness.”
Kevin Chernoff added that while this kind of initiative – be it Kindness Meters, Scarves, or what-have-you – may not be, strictly speaking, contagious … they certainly are addictive (as sponsor of one of the meters, he should know).
“There’s a real momentum,” he said. “Each great idea feeds off the one before, and helps inspire the next one.”