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Central Coast Living: The Giving Tree in downtown SLO

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jan 17, 2019

There’s an unusual tree on Chorro St. in downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s all dressed up for winter, wrapped in colorful, knitted squares.

The tree is helping others stay warm in the cool weather, too; it’s The Giving Tree.

The tree stands outside Anne Gough’s Yarns at the Adobe shop.

“I leave it at night and leave a lot of things on it at night and in the morning, most of them are gone,” Gough said.

Gough and her knitting friends make scarves, hats, mittens, gloves and sweaters. Then, they hang them on the tree for people in need to take.

“I love our knitting community,” Gough said.

The group started hanging warm clothing on the tree in December as a way to give back to the community during the holidays.

A note on the tree reads, “You may give to our tree and if you are cold and in need, you may take from our tree. But if you are not, please leave for someone who is.”

Gough says the concept for the tree was inspired by Shel Silverstein’s classic story, “The Giving Tree.”

Now, anonymous locals are leaving money and clothing at the tree.

“People are donating to the tree, not just my knitters from my shop but from all over,” Gough said. “There’s a little group called the Positive Change Movement. I don’t even know who they are and they leave things all the time on the tree.”

Just like the boy’s tree in Silverstein’s story, Gough says when those in need take something from it, the tree is happy.

If you would like to donate clothing to the tree, you’ll find it on Chorro Street across from the mission.