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Mitten fence helping hundreds in Buffalo stay warm this winter

The Mitten Fence on Main Street is constantly getting new items
Posted at 6:20 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 09:43:52-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Mitten Fence in People's Park on Main Street in Buffalo typically gives out 400 items a year. This winter, things are flying off the fence faster than usual.

“I come by about once a week, but I often come by and I see things I know I haven’t hung up. It really makes me feel like it’s a community effort, it’s a community park and it’s supposed to bring people together,” said Mara Montante, People's Park Director.

Montante says it's often overlooked how many people in our area don't have the winter gear they need to stay warm. That's why People's Park started the Mitten Fence in 2018.

"And we thought this was a really nice way to help people in the community during winter," said Montante.

People's park is known for bringing people together in their garden, hosting reading groups and free libraries during the summer and now, putting up this Mitten Fence during the winter months.

"People can come and leave items. Some people knit things and leave them on the fence. Then people stop by and take what they need, it’s a give what you can and take what you need," said Montante.

People often leave snacks and nice messages in the bags
People often leave snacks and nice messages in the bags

She thinks the high need for winter items and the extra help from the community are both effects of the pandemic.

“I’m hoping this fills kind of a necessary thing people need during the winter," said Montante.

After this year’s positive response, they’re considering bringing a second people’s park and Mitten Fence to Niagara Falls in the future.

"Hopefully, more people can come and donate and if you need something you can stop by and get what you need," said Montante.

The fence will be up through March. If you want to donate, just bring your items in a plastic bag to keep them dry and hang them up.
And if you need something to keep warm out here, just stop by and grab what you need.