Tourism locations throughout the state are working for the third consecutive year to keep thousands of residents a little warmer this winter. Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett explains the ‘Big Bundle Up’ campaign is a way to give back to the community. “Really what it is, is going and dropping off new or gently used items — winter items — scarfs, hats, mittens. You name it. If it’s winter-related — boots — we want it.”
Last year more than 17,000 winter items were donated to charities in all 72 counties. All kinds of items for children and adults are being accepted again this year.
AUDIO Klett says it makes sense for her agency to do this; the tourism industry is about customer service :37
Klett says the tourism industry is really about customer service; it’s about treating people well. So, she says, this is a “natural fit.” Klett says, “When we brought it up to our convention and visitors bureaus, they said, ‘Are you kidding me? Absolutely we should do that … especially when people walk into a welcome center our team will notice children without gloves on a really, really cold day or parents wearing sandals.”
The idea started as a friendly competition following the attention-getting “Mittengate” in December of 2011. That’s when Wisconsin and Michigan got into a media battle over which state could lay claim to the mitten as the shape formed by its borders. Citizens of the two states agreed to focus their energy on collecting actual mittens of all shapes and sizes on every side of the lake for people in need. That impromptu idea did considerably well. In the following years in Wisconsin, that effort expanded to include all kinds of winter apparel.
Nearly 70 sites located at Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers, tourist information centers, businesses and offices are serving as drop-off sites for the stuff through January 3, 2014. A complete list of locations is available on TravelWisconsin.com.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report :34