Charity drive helps those in need bundle up

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, December 19, 2013

JANESVILLE—The Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, ECHO and the Janesville Performing Arts Center to make winter warmer for Rock County residents in need.

The organizations are participating in The Big Bundle Up, a statewide charity drive to collect new and gently used gloves, hats, scarves, coats, sweaters and other winter gear that will be donated to charities throughout Wisconsin, said Christine Rebout, executive director of the local convention and visitors bureau.

Items collected locally will be given to clients of Everyone Cooperating to Help Others, a local nonprofit faith-sponsored charity, after the last day of the drive Friday, Jan. 3.

Those who receive new hats, scarves, coats and mittens for Christmas can contribute their gently used items.

“I know I always recycle out our old and gently used stuff. We will take those handcrafted items, too,” Rebout said.

Knitters donated dozens of mittens and scarves last year, she said.

Donors can put items in a collection box at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., during regular business hours.

Items also may be dropped off at the convention and visitors bureau, Olde Towne Mall, 20 S. Main St., suite 17, Rebout said.

“We've had a lot of people bring things by,” she said.

Last year, the statewide campaign collected more than 17,000 warm winter items. Of those, Janesville collected more than 100 warm winter apparel items, Rebout said.

More than 70 chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, visitor centers, eight Travel Wisconsin welcome centers and other businesses statewide are donation sites, she said.

"It's a way to share what you have and how blessed you might be, with others much less fortunate, which is easy to forget when you're caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season," Rebout said.

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