Edwardsburg Giving Tree seeks winter weather donations

Published 2:36 pm Friday, February 12, 2021

EDWARDSBURG — Those driving through Edwardsburg are likely to see a strange sight — a tree decorated with garment bags filled with pants, shirts and other clothing items, each waiting for a community member in need to take them away.

Those who keep the tree running are now asking the public’s help stocking it with more winter options.

With temperatures dropping, the Edwardsburg Giving Tree, located in front of the Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church, 68961 Lake St., Edwardsburg, is seeking donations of cold-weather clothing to help keep residents in need warm throughout the winter months.

“There is a need in our community, especially in the wintertime, that we are trying to fill,” said Shawna Mondich, Giving Tree manager.

The Edwardsburg Giving Tree was started in June 2019 as a way for community members to pick up needed clothing without the worry of judgment. Items are hung up on the tree, and community members can come and pick up an item day or night without having to interact with anyone.

Mondich and Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church Pastor Scott Scheel said they saw a need for something similar to the Giving Tree, as there were no other donation centers in Edwardsburg. The closest were located in Cassopolis, Niles and Indiana, and could be difficult for an Edwardsburg resident in need to reach.

“I heard of [a Giving Tree] in Elkhart, and I thought it was a good idea,” Mondich said. “This is a place people can go 24/7 and get what they need without feeling watched or questions or wondered about. It’s anonymous, and it’s working.”

To date, the Giving Tree has donated nearly 4,000 items, thanks to donations from Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church members and the community at large.

Currently, the church has a stockpile of warmer weather clothes ready to put on the tree in the spring and summer. However, with several weeks and months of cold weather still ahead, Giving Tree organizers currently need donations of gently used winter clothing, long sleeve shirts, hats, gloves, coats, boots and blankets.

“As soon as we put warm things out, they don’t stay there very long,” Scheel said. “That is what the need is right now, and that is what we are asking for.”

As the Giving Tree is a small operation run by the church, Scheel said the church is only accepting winter clothing and monetary donations at this time. To donate, he asked that community residents call the church at (269) 663-6815 to set an appointment to drop off a donation.

“We really want to provide items that are in good shape and are really going to help people,” Scheel said.

With 4,000 items donated, Mondich said she is looking forward to donating many more and helping more members of the Edwardsburg community. Though the nature of the Giving Tree means she does not interact with those using it, she knows community members are grateful. Thursday morning, she found a thank-you note left at the tree.

“It makes you feel good knowing you can help,” she said. “[The Giving Tree] is benefits both the givers and the receivers.”