At the start of the pandemic, Elmira’s Larry Wiens needed more jigsaw puzzles.
“My inventory of puzzles was down when COVID came, so access to get some was down too. So, we stepped outside the box,” he said.
Wiens loves puzzles. He says he completes about one puzzle a week.
“I’m a mechanical person, so I can just chill out [with a puzzle],” he said.
Based on the “little library” format, he decided to make a box on his front lawn to hold puzzles up for grabs, a leave-one-if-you-have-it-take-one-if-you-need-it situation. And he stocked it with his own puzzles.
Wiens said the box took him about six hours or so to make. The door is an old window from a construction site that a client let him take.
Judging by the response, the community loves it. His front lawn has a small pathway of tracks leading to the box from neighbours stopping by.
“It’s used quite a bit,” Wiens said. “Can hardly keep the grass growing underneath it. Maybe not that bad, but it’s a good response.”
Wiens said people often donate half a dozen puzzles at a time. He received a phone call from people in Waterloo thanking him for the puzzle box (he has his cell phone number on the box in case people need it.) Even Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis gave him a recognition from the House of Commons for the puzzle box as a positive neighbourly gesture during rough pandemic times.
Now the community has access to free puzzles, and Wiens has a constant fresh supply available just outside his Charles Street home.