Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Warming heads, hands & hearts in Faribault January 29, 2020

Photographed just days ago outside The Nook and Cranny, Faribault.


OUTSIDE THE FORMER St. Lawrence Church, where parishioners once ascended steps to front doors opening under a banner WELCOME sign, those in need find a warm welcome.





A handwritten sign invites them to take whatever they wish to stay warm. A hat. A scarf. Mittens. The winter neck, head and hand wear drapes benches and hangs clipped to clothesline rope.


A Little Free Library, left, also sits outside The Nook and Granny gift shop.


But this is much more than a give-away by The Nook and Cranny, the boutique/gift shop/craft center housed inside the former church. I view this as an act of kindness, care and compassion extended to my community.

Faribault is not a city of wealth. Rather, we are a primarily blue collar community, home to many immigrants, a place where people work hard and often struggle to make ends meet. But we are also a generous community—supportive of fundraisers, volunteering, giving to charities, helping our neighbors…



And here, in the deep of winter, one business located along one of Faribault’s busiest streets at 725 Second Avenue Northwest, reaches out, warming heads, hands and hearts. I can’t help but think that St. Lawrence, the patron saint of the poor, would be pleased.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “Warming heads, hands & hearts in Faribault”

  1. What a wonderful community 🌿

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    I’ve seen the hat and gloves hanging outside this church but didn’t know they were available to take if needed. I love that idea.
    I have been in Nooks & Crannies. It’s a fun shop.

  3. Shari Van Der Veen Says:

    I enjoyed your articles; Faribault sure can use all these positive ideas and activities and be recognized! I am a member of Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church and appreciated all your info regarding our Community Christmas Dinner. Keep up the good work.

  4. I have seen this idea in many places and think it is just the most wonderful thing. To have a business do it and promote warmth and love is truly heart warming. Plus the Little Free Library — the perfect setting to share warmth and books as well. Good on ya, Nook and Cranny!

  5. What a sweet thing to do! ❤

  6. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Love this idea! Really glad your community is so generous.

  7. Missy’s Håndarbeid (Missy’s Crafty Mess) Says:

    I love this

    • Yes, it’s great. Unfortunately, I noticed while driving by The Nook and Cranny yesterday that one of the benches was tipped over and the winter gear was lying in the puddling, melting snow. The act seems intentional given the sturdiness of the bench.

      • Missy’s Håndarbeid (Missy’s Crafty Mess) Says:

        That’s awful

      • It is. The local newspaper published this post on Saturday, as they have several of my stories (with my permission). So I can’t help but think someone read the article and didn’t like something and tipped the bench. Or maybe it was just some kid walking by… Whatever the reason or whoever did this, it’s senseless.

      • Missy’s Håndarbeid (Missy’s Crafty Mess) Says:


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