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Mystery woman’s ‘Giving Tree’ helps Virginia neighbors in need: ‘Nobody knows I do it’

Mystery woman’s ‘Giving Tree’ helps Virginia neighbors in need: ‘Nobody knows I do it’
Posted at 9:11 PM, Dec 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-15 21:11:17-05

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 crepe myrtle tree, and I use it to hang clothing for kids and people—adults that might be in need or know someone who is," Philip told WTKR reporter Kofo Lasaki.

Philipp 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," she explained.

Philipp is shy and doesn’t seek attention. In fact, she doesn’t care for any attention at all.

“Nobody knows I do it," she said. "I sneak out here, hang it up and I go back in the house.”

Kandi Philipp's Giving Tree

Kandi Philipp's Giving Tree

And she doesn’t police who can take what.

“It may be one person decides they need it all or several different people," she said. "I don’t pay attention - I’m not sitting there watching to see who takes it.”

Philipp, who has been hanging items during the fall and winter months  for the past two or three years, says most things are gone within an hour of her hanging them on the tree.

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," she explained. "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.’"

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,” Dirle said.

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.