POCATELLO — A mystery woman who recently left several winter coats zipped around trees and poles in Old Town Pocatello to help those in need said she isn’t yet finished with her surprises.
The Journal last week requested to hear from those responsible for placing 22 winter coats in Pocatello and received a phone message from a woman who said she and her sister were the people who left the coats. She wished to keep her identity secret.
She said the Journal could identify her as a woman who spends time living in both Pocatello and North Dakota.
The woman said she got the idea to place the coats in Old Town Pocatello after a friend of hers shared a post on Facebook about a similar initiative that was happening in Turkey and Bulgaria.
It wasn’t just winter coats for men, women and children that the woman and her sister left behind for those who are homeless or less fortunate. Inside the pockets of each coat were also a pair of winter gloves and a winter hat, the woman said.
Each coat had a note fastened to it that read, “If you need me take me. If not please leave me for someone else.”
Furthermore, the woman said that she and her sister placed the coats in Pocatello during the late evening hours as a means to remain undetected. Initially, she was worried that someone might report her for leaving the coats and that she might get in trouble for littering or for violating some other city ordinance.
In terms of remaining anonymous, the woman said she doesn’t need the public recognition for leaving the coats and that she has the financial means to acquire more coats without a public request for donations.
The woman said the coats were gently used or new and had been purchased from various thrift shops around town.
Her plan moving forward is to place an additional 50 coats in Pocatello. She said she will definitely place more coats in Old Town Pocatello but is also considering other locations around town.
The woman who left the coats in Pocatello has also embraced several other selfless acts for those in need.
On Thursday, the woman delivered her first bundle of wrapped books to the pediatrics department of Portneuf Medical Center. The bundle includes 24 wrapped books that the woman said will be given to less-fortunate children.
The woman said for each of the 24 days of Christmas the children will be able to get one book so that by the time Christmas arrives children don’t feel left out.
Todd Blackinton, PMC spokesman, confirmed on Thursday that the pediatrics department received the bundle of books.
”It’s inspiring to see so many people this time of year giving to others,” Blackinton said. “We received an anonymous gift today that will no doubt brighten the days of children leaving the hospital.”
The woman said she has four other bundles that she expects to donate to the Pocatello Children’s Clinic and Tooth Town Dentistry For Kids for distribution.
In addition to the books and the winter clothing, the woman participated in what she called the Facebook weekly gift challenge. The woman and six of her friends purchased a gift for a child each week of the year. The women plan to donate around a combined 336 gifts to Salvation Army.
Lastly, to help small business owners in Pocatello earn extra cash for the holidays, the woman said she put together promotional baskets that include various products sold by local retailers that she plans to give away for free at the Pine Ridge Mall and other big-box and department stores during the next few weekends.
The woman said she went to various friends and family members with small businesses and bought a few products from each business. The makeup of each basket includes products from Mary Kay, doTERRA, Pure Romance, Plexus and, among others, Scentsy. In total, the woman said she plans to give away, at random, 20 baskets.
When asked what prompted her to get involved in so many holiday initiatives, the woman said that it’s the right thing to do and she has the financial means to be able to make a difference, so why not do what you can?
“I’ve always just been that person,” the woman said. “I have always tried to help everybody I can, especially during the holiday season.”