The team at VISIT Lake Geneva, the Visitor & Convention Bureau and Chamber of Commerce for the Lake Geneva, Wis., area, announced today it will serve as the local drop-off for The Big Bundle Up, an annual statewide campaign that collects new and gently used winter clothing items for donation back to the local community. This year’s recipient of the donated items is the Walworth County Food Pantry & Diaper Bank, whose mission is to provide food and supplies in time of crisis. The organization serves an average of 400 families per month thanks to donations from the community and the work of their all-volunteer staff.

Residents are invited to drop off new and gently used coats, sweaters, hats, mittens, gloves and other warm clothing items between now and Nov. 25 at the Visitor Information Center, 201 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week, with Monday through Friday hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For questions, contact VISIT Lake Geneva at 262.248.1000 or info@visitlakegeneva.com.

This is the ninth year for this statewide program, with nearly 156,000 clothing items collected to date by local visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce and Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers around the state.

The program was launched by VISIT Lake Geneva’s CEO and president Stephanie Klett during her tenure as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. It grew out of what Klett dubbed “Mittengate” when then-tourism director for Michigan, George Zimmermann, expressed mild dislike of a Wisconsin winter advertising image that used a mitten to represent Wisconsin, suggesting Wisconsin was co-opting Michigan’s claim as the mitten-shaped state. Klett took the funny kerfuffle as an opportunity to bring attention to families in need of warm winter clothing, including mittens, by launching a statewide clothing drive, enlisting tourism entities around the state to serve as collection points.

“The outpouring of generosity for this program year after year is proof there is so much good in this world,” said Klett. “I’m asking residents to join us in getting in the true spirit of the season by helping our neighbors in need.”

On an interesting side note, Klett shared that Zimmermann retired to Lake Geneva after wrapping up his career in tourism, so the two former state tourism secretaries who were previously sparring partners of a sort are now neighbors themselves. “I’d call this a wonderful case of serendipity all around!” said Klett.

 

WHAT: Big Bundle Up Winter Clothing Drive, collecting coats, sweaters, hats, mittens and other items to donate to those in need in our community this winter season.

WHEN: Oct. 28 through Nov. 25

DROP-OFF SITE: VISIT Lake Geneva Visitor Center, 201 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva

 

About the Walworth County Food Pantry & Diaper Bank

The Walworth County Food Pantry & Diaper Bank, a 100% volunteer driven organization, provides individuals and families nutritional supplemental food, diapers and supplies during a time of crisis, in a cheerful, welcoming, nonjudgmental environment without regard to age, race, creed, color, national origin, physical or developmental disability. Their website is www.walworthcountyfoodpantry.org.

About VISIT Lake Geneva

VISIT Lake Geneva is the community's Chamber of Commerce and official Visitor & Convention Bureau and may be found online at www.VisitLakeGeneva.com.

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VISIT LAKE GENEVA · 201 Wrigley Drive · Lake Geneva, WI 53147

800.345.1020 · www.VisitLakeGeneva.com