A Hand- and Heart-warming Campaign

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on January 9th, 2013

About fifty Wausau-area community members will be a bit warmer during the remaining cold winter months, thanks to Woodson Art Museum visitors’ generosity through the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Big Bundle Up campaign.

The Woodson Art Museum, one of two Big Bundle Up drop-off locations in the Wausau area, collected forty pairs of kids’ gloves and mittens, two children’s hats, eight pairs of adults’ gloves and mittens, and two matching adults’ hats and donated them locally.

It warmed our hearts to see mittens and gloves pile up in the collection basket in the Museum’s main entrance and spill into a bulging bag that I delivered to the Marathon County Child Development Agency-Head Start main office in Wausau yesterday.

“We certainly appreciate being the recipients,” said Cindy Thorpe, Head Start family and community partnership specialist. “Be assured they’ll be put on hands just as soon as we can.”

The adult-size gloves and matching hats went to North Central Health Care for the clients and residents it serves.

Both organizations quickly responded to an inquiry about winter-gear needs, relayed to Wausau-area organizations by Shelly Kaiser, volunteer connection director at United Way of Marathon County. The joy that comes from connecting acts of kindness with people in need “is a side benefit of my job,” she said. I agree; involvement with this campaign certainly has wrapped many of us at the Museum in its warm glow, as well.

Throughout this year’s Big Bundle Up campaign, people statewide were encouraged to donate new or gently-used mittens, hats, scarves, earmuffs, hats, coats, sweaters, jackets, snow pants, and other warm clothing items. Drop-off sites such as ours were asked to report the collection tally and then donate the items to local charities. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s first-ever mitten collection program launched last winter yielded more than 3,100 mittens collected statewide.

Although this year’s statewide tally has not yet been released, the Big Bundle Up campaign got a jump start from Wisconsin Knitwear, which graciously donated 500 winter hats to the program. Packers fans also donated warm clothing items at Lambeau Field prior to the start of the Dec. 9, 2012 Packers/Lions game.

It’ll be heartwarming, no doubt, to read about the total statewide tally soon!

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