NORFOLK, Va.— Some people hang ornaments on a tree for the holidays, but at the corner of Fisherman’s Road and Woodcock Street in Norfolk, Kandi Philipp is hanging coats for kids.
“It’s a crêpe myrtle tree, and I use it to hang clothing for kids and people—adults that might be in need or know someone who is," says Philip.
She even has a name for her neighborhood hang rack.
“I call them 'giving tree' because I put stuff up there and I’m giving it.”
Philipp is sly and doesn’t seek attention. In fact, she doesn’t care for any attention at all.
“Nobody knows I do it. I sneak out here, hang it up and I go back in the house.”
And she doesn’t police who can take what.
“It may be one person decides they need it all or several different people. I don’t pay attention - I’m not sitting there watching to see who takes it.”
She says most things are gone within an hour of her hanging them on the tree.
Philipp has been hanging items during the fall and winter months for the past two or three years. The trees are bare for now, but she says she always finds more gifts to give.
“If they’re not new, then I have to wash them and I dry them and hang them on a hanger and I make little tags that say... if it’s new, it will say ‘new’ or ‘gently pre-owned’ in the size and sometimes I’ll have a sign that says, ‘If you need it, take it.’"
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Alison Dirle shared a picture on Facebook of a winter onesie hanging in the tree, knowing someone was doing something very special for her Bayview neighborhood.
“It makes me feel like there still are good people in the world and in our neighborhood, you know, right in the same neighborhood that I live in and my kids are growing up, and that there still are people doing kind things for others,” says Dirle.
Philipp says there’s always someone in need and she hopes her giving tree inspires people to think before they throw something away that will end up sitting in a landfill.