Elementary classrooms in the Waupaca School District have extra mittens on hand this winter, and these mittens were made especially for students.
A total of 185 pairs of mittens, as well as two scarves and five hats, were delivered to Waupaca Learning Center on Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Area women spent the past couple months knitting the mittens.
“We were trying to do two pairs per classroom and made three,” said Jane Haasch.
Hassch is a member of a knitting group that meets at the Waupaca Community Arts Center on Tuesday afternoons.
She brought up the idea of knitting mittens for Waupaca’s elementary classrooms, so teachers would have mittens available for children in need.
The project was called Mitten Mania, and three pairs of mittens were donated for each 4K through fifth-grade classroom.
“I have always wanted donations of mittens,” said Anne Collins-Reed, the school district’s social worker.
Becky Liegl is a fourth-grade teacher at WLC, and she said, “There are definitely kids needing them already. We are very grateful.”
The mittens will be in each of the classrooms.
Waupaca Learning Center also has an area called Rascal’s Closet.
Inside it are coats, snowpants, shoes, sweatshirts and pants for students in need.
Collins-Reed said there is a need for more winter clothing, boots, shoes and boys’ pants.
She receives vouchers through the Goodwill Neighborhood Program to get additional items the schools need.
“I try to use every resource we have,” she said.
A group of retired women sorts the items every couple weeks.
“Winter clothing, pants and shoes are the biggeset need we have,” Collins-Reed said. “Mittens is something we wanted every year.”
In addition to the arts center knitting group, Creative Caring Hearts and a knitting group from Trinity Lutheran Church were involved in Mitten Mania.
Jeanne Bootz is part of Creative Caring Hearts, a group that makes and donates items for newborns.
“There’s a real need in the area for mittens,” she said, noting that in addition to knitting mittens for the elementary classrooms, Creative Caring Hearts also knit mittens for the Miracle Tree.
The yarn used for the Mitten Mania project belonged to the late Mary Curran, who had a gift shop in Elk Mound, Wisconsin.
People were able to pick up yarn and patterns at the arts center and then drop off the completed mittens.
In addition to Haasch and Bootz, the participants in the project included Janice Bormann, Nancy Hartoonian, Gloria Doyle, Rita Danielson, Esther Jacobsen, Ann Linden, Cherie Evans, Gingie Wilson, Gail James, Terry Burki, Cindy Wandtke, Rhonda Towne, Peg Johnson, Jill Michel, Lynn Craig, Chris Anthony and Ida Mae Hiemke.
Haasch said mittens made by the late Verna Hart and the late Myra Veeser were also found and donated to Mitten Mania.
Collins-Reed said the fact the mittens are handmade will make them even more special for the children who receive them.
“These are new and cute,” said Liegl.