The annual statewide campaign to collect winter clothing donations known as the Big Bundle Up has a drop-off point to help the Walworth County Food Pantry & Diaper Bank.
VISIT Lake Geneva — the visitor and convention bureau and Chamber of Commerce for Lake Geneva — recently announced that people can drop off new and gently used coats, sweaters, hats, mittens and other winter clothes through Nov. 25.
People can give winter clothing items for Big Bundle Up at the Visitor Information Center, 201 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva.
This year’s recipient is the bank, which serves on average 400 families a month, providing food and supplies through the work of an all-volunteer staff.
In its ninth year, Big Bundle Up has collected nearly 156,000 clothing items from visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce and Travel Wisconsin welcome centers.
The campaign was launched by Stephanie Klett, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
Klett is now CEO and president of VISIT Lake Geneva, which recently announced the new drop-off site location.
The campaign grew out of what Klett dubbed “Mittengate” when a former Michigan tourism director expressed mild dislike of a Wisconsin winter advertising image.
George Zimmermann suggested Wisconsin was co-opting Michigan’s claim as the mitten-shaped state.
Klett took the funny kerfuffle as the opportunity to bring attention to families in need of warm winter clothes and launched a statewide clothing drive.
“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.”
As for Zimmermann, he retired to Lake Geneva — making Klett and her former sparring partner sort of like neighbors.
“I’d call this a wonderful case of serendipity all around,” said Klett.
The Visitor Information Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To learn more about the Walworth County Food Pantry & Diaper Bank, visit www.walworthcountyfoodpantry.org.