You’re walking along when you pass a park bench. You sit down, and suddenly notice that there’s a small box next to you. You pick it up and examine it, turning it over in your hands. You look around you, but can’t see anyone near. Someone has written, “This must be for you” in simple hand lettering on the box. Perturbed, but with excitement rising in your chest, you open the gift…
This Must Be For You is an anonymous gift giving project. The gifts are housed in small, seemingly unremarkable boxes and envelopes that contain simple pleasures such as seeds, tea and spices, maybe even a piece of art. Each gift is labelled with the short but evocative phrase, ‘This must be for you’.
In the words of co-founder Natasha, TMBFY: ‘leave out gifts for anyone and everyone to find in the hope to encourage human kindness in a tangible way.’
TMBFY is a labour of love, and not a profit driven enterprise. They want the gift giving to be more than just a charitable event, but to also be linked to creativity: art, music, writing, film and photography. Co-founder Natasha explains: ‘these creative skills represent some of the best that humanity has to offer, so why not spread them far and wide for free, for everyone to enjoy?!’
The project was born in the summer of 2012 at Edinburgh Fringe by Natasha Cutts and Charlie Clark. Natasha says: ‘London can feel a bit big and scary and lonely at times, and I wanted to do something nice to make people interact in a positive way.’
Earlier in the year they teamed up with Blimpy Media‘s Tom Hill to make their art packs film. TMBFY also recently ran an Altruistic Art Show, where more than 50 artists donated their work to be part of the exhibition and then the pieces were then given away for free. TMBFY are working on a whole host of new projects including mixtapes full of donated tracks, a free film shorts night and a zine, all of which would be, you guessed it, free.
From Book Crossing to Gifts For Strangers, anonymous gift giving has become en vogue in recent years. And the plain but pretty act of giving a present to a stranger, or leaving it anonymously for someone to find, has a real beauty in it. Add art and culture into the mix, and you’ve got a small act that represents some of the best things about humanity. And there’s something uber enchanting about the message of TMBFY itself. Maybe it’s their sincere desire to brighten up the days of strangers everywhere, maybe it’s their devotion to creativity, either way, the project is utterly brilliant.