The Giving Fence: “Leave what you can. Take what you need”

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With winter on the way, one Bloomington couple is doing what they can to make sure everyone is ready for the cold weather.

Tahnee and Matt Lathrop own Retrofit Culture, located on West Washington Street..

Last year, Tahnee decided to hang her used cold weather gear along the business’ fence for people who might need it

“I’m a big fan of the sharing economy. This idea that there’s so much stuff, that if we shared it all, there’s more than enough stuff out there, right?”

She reached out to the community to see if anyone else wanted to donate old coats, hats, gloves, or even shoes. Her husband, Matt Lathrop says he was skeptical of the idea at first.

“I was not originally a big supporter of this idea. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, I just didn’t imagine that it would catch as much as it has. So, I think it really says something about the community and the people in this area, how much they care that they’re willing to help so much,” he explained.

The idea of the Giving Fence took off. People could anonymously place their donated items in bags and hang them on the fence. Others, who needed the gear, could stop by and grab it.

“The philosophy is leave what you can, take what you need,” said Tahnee.

Now, the Lathrops are collecting donations for a second season of giving. After only one day, there are already piles of coats and other items around their store.

“It makes me love this community even more. So, people have a giving spirit and know and recognize that there are people need a little help sometimes and they’re willing to bring their stuff over here. It’s great,” said Tahnee.

The couple is collecting donations at Retrofit Culture until Friday. Saturday morning, donations will be hung and the Giving Fence will be open for those who need it. Anyone can come by and add to it at any time.

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